NORTH BY NORTH-WEST

“When vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings…” – Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness  North of Westport, State Highway 67 followed the coast on a narrow, scrubby littoral. The outer edge of the Denniston Plateau, where vast amounts of coal were hewn from the earthquake-rumpled landscape during the late nineteenth and early… Continue reading NORTH BY NORTH-WEST

CROCODILE COUNTRY

Out where the river broke,The bloodwood and the desert oak…                            – Midnight Oil, Beds Are Burning At Roper Bar I was swimming with crocodiles. And not the harmless freshwater variety, either. These were the real deal: big ‘ol, bad-tempered, drag-you-under-and-drown-you saltwater crocs.… Continue reading CROCODILE COUNTRY

MORNINGTOWN RIDE

Good morning from an Indian train… I came to India to ride trains. They were one of my abiding memories from our visit to northern India in 1992. Trains were fun. They were linear microcosms of Indian life: miniature towns moving horizontally through the landscape and through the mornings, noons and nights of the subcontinent.… Continue reading MORNINGTOWN RIDE

Journey to the Centre of India

The British are great measurers. They have a sense of order. You can see it best in their maps. The Ordnance Survey maps are a perfect representation in two dimensions of every detail of the three dimensional world. Perhaps it’s their Roman heritage. The Romans, too, loved order, measurement and straight lines. It gave their… Continue reading Journey to the Centre of India

The Great Flood (Part 3)

…a long, basso profundo chant which echoed hollowly inside the temple. It was almost silent in the cavern. The air was cool, and fragrant with the aroma of polished teak. The only light filtered in through the narrow doorway, with its carved lintel and ornately-decorated flanking columns. I was barefoot. The floor of the cavern,… Continue reading The Great Flood (Part 3)

ENLIGHTENMENT

Enlightenment, don’t know what it is… – Van Morrison He was a vision in orange. His robes hung from his lean frame in flowing billows. Around his neck he wore a collection of sacred threads and clackering beads. His sandaled feet glided across the polished linoleum floor of the Nagpur Railway Station’s booking office. A… Continue reading ENLIGHTENMENT