Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Dozen or More Beds.........

Text and pictures by Blogger 

But where do you go to my lovely
 When you're alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look into your head, yes I do.
Where do you go to my lovely chorus – Peter Sarstedt

I’ve slept in my fair share and both – repose and beds – have become a fascination, in recent years, particularly when you are constantly hopping in and out of them in the most unlikely places. An opiate, the elixir of life, an emotional and psychological tortured rack, lurking shadows – Tell me the thoughts that surround you – marish nights never ending and barely controllable beasts. Arrhythmic capital cities, intercontinental travel, unfamiliar and conflict-affected environments, aloneness, restless soul(s) and age deprive one of the purest, simplest and most blissful escapes. 

Bed, bedder, bedded, better dead – conjugal, death, flower, burning, hospital, rose - BEDS! So much commonality and finality! Why is it then so surprising and shocking to most that, ultimately, you are as you arrived and depart from this earthly existence - bedbound and more often on your very own or oblivious of those around you?  

Singles – reminiscent of childhood and adolescence negotiated in a blur of staccato snapshots. Easy, carefree, natural and so full of anticipation and promise juxtaposed with the all-pervading reality of twilight years ahead - a cruel yet the inevitable prospect of emptiness – fending, fighting and warding off..... Turning full circle in a twirling and twisted tango.  
Singles..... Green Village accommodation - Kabul Afghanistan

Three quarters – bold, brave, productive, passionate, euphoric, crowded and the shortest of interludes en route to dreams and destinations  unchartered.  

Kings, Queens and FamiliesSo real, so sustaining, imprinted life, form and shapes - was it real? Once the centre of the universe, purpose and peace; vivid, vibrant and boisterous 24/7/365 visitations; dreams delivered and dashed; sense-arounded and cocooned in envelopes of intimacy and familiarity; pleasurable presences - leisurely caresses and traded secrets all but blunted now by tell-tale time, circumstance and LIFE ………  fading facsimiles ……….empty footfalls; uncomfortable and enduring silences; bodily superheated and suffused sheets slowly dissipating ………cleansed, sanitized, washed away, non-lingering, nothingness; stark, spreadeagled, chalked crime-scene silhouettes freeze-framed - older, colder, COLD! Achingly dismembered and disabled yet finding sensibilities, solace and self in numbing loneliness.  

As a response, befriending the most unlikely of companions with grace and humility especially H.R.H Insomnia - the obnoxious, unannounced, disagreeable and 'unliked' surrogate socialite that she is as H.R.H drops in occasionally, like a smothering cloak, for rude but intimate awakenings between 2-5 am. Leaving one savagely abused and crudely bruised and invariably facing a zombied day ahead as one of the many, walking dead. Her attempts and no good are thwarted by another old and regal friend, St. John's Wort, chased down with a few pages from a good read. Then ….. glorious repose rushing to meet you swiftly and sweetly - oblivion with incredible restorative and rejuvenating powers - a hint and lasting legacy of the past and perhaps, perhaps a furtive, fleeting hope for the future. 
The blogger ......flat-backed on one of a dozen or more beds






Friday, January 3, 2014

2013's Parting Shots!

This pictorial blog salutes friends and work colleagues – professionals and development practitioners in their own right – who made 2013 all the more memorable and manageable. Until we meet again!

Although 2013 was not exactly an annus horribilis  it was certainly one of peaks and troughs – stress, emotional and psychological hardship - as I'm sure many will attest to - often in the extreme. Its often under these circumstances that the most unlikely, intense and enduring friendships are forged. This is acknowledged and celebrated. No judgement or opinion will be passed, for once, on people, systems, institutions or governments – 2013 was what it was and we hope that 2014 will be far better. For the people of Afghanistan, who all deserve so much more, the struggle goes on. We carry part of your burden and hope that we can continue to be part of this journey. Equally, we thank you all for your very generous and gracious hospitality - a privilege and truly unforgettable experience!

Not quite the Full Monty but certainly mature male models with a great future! Coming to a store near you - very soon!

Colleagues from the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock
All smiles - relaxing times before going our separate ways

Feet up ..... and enjoying the autumn sunshine. What a life at Le Baronne!

Mmmmmmm - something is definitely brewing here!

Premature departures - the Kabul Cabal!

Rebels without a cause ..... grounded yet again!

Obviously, Pedro has been stirring sheeeeet again!

Early days - so full of promise and potential

The boyz - big, bigger, biggest & Christophe

Spot the Aussie!

Party time at Kabul's GV

IWMP Kick off

Out and about in Mazar-e-Sharif - in good safe hands....

With VIPs at MAIL - Kabul

Baz and Thomas under 'deep' cover......

Great Indian hospitality and fun times with friends abroad


Serious integrated water resource management business

Le Baronne's friendly staff

Guru David on the couch offering some sound hydrological advice

Women in agriculture - special ones at that

Mission Helmand: Accomplished!

Where the bloody well are we? We definitely need a Guy with GIS and mapping skills!!

Another tall storey!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sugared and Spiced in Sri Lanka!


A Smorgasbord of some of Sri Lanka's Finest Fresh Produce

 Pics and text by Barry Greville-Eyres


Far more than just a Sri Lankan icon ..... a quality product and brand recognized globally for decades 
Broken Orange Pekoe (BOP) a signature and top Sri Lankan tea

Curry dhal, pol sambol (a delicious dry blend of chilli and coconut) and wholemeal rotti - fine, simple  food whether enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner

Water buffalo curd and palm treacle enjoyed with fresh banana and papaya - a wholesome and refreshingly different breakfast

3 vegetable curry selections, mixed coconut sambol and string hoppers made from rice flour


A hopper - bowl shaped pancake on the heat .....

Hoppers - egg pancakes
Another favourite - kotthu rotti - chopped rotti, vegetables and chicken spiced/seasoned and stir fried before being served with a never ending variety of sambols

Digging in at a local eatery in the highland town of Nuwara Eliya

Durian fruit - or alternatively a wonderful traditional weapon

Dragon fruit
Two varieties of rambutan 

Going bananas ..... countless varieties on offer including cooking bananas

Rehydrate and refresh yourself with the 'king' of coconuts

Star fruit

Star water melon

Foot long perky nana!

Mangosteen - yet another exotic Asian fruit

Freshest fish

Prawns ready for the pan

Game fish

Assorted reef fish

More assorted reef fish

Negombo's fish market - very educational!


The gals sampling the local brew at a Negombo roadside tavern and waiting for a light snack


On the menu - scrumptious devilled prawns followed by.......

Pan fried JT or King Fish

No disguising the delight here.... 

Tuna steak anyone?

A mobile bakery doing the rounds


Pulses play an important part in Sri Lankan cuisine

Sugar, spice and all things nice?

Freshest vegetables - the variety is incredible!

Yet more veggies ....

A nation of smiling faces .....


Royalty at the Galle Oriental Bakery
Short eats - a legacy of Dutch colonial rule - interesting sweet and savoury pastries

Ye Olde Bakery!

A cinnamon sapling yet still capable of producing this exquisite spice


Once the thin outer green bark is removed the inner cambium is bruised and softened my rolling it with a round metal object before being stripped away completely - once dried this becomes the cinnamon quill or stick

Green and dried cinnamon quills 

Dried quills are pounded and reduced to fine cinnamon powder