New Blog Site, New Website

Ian JAIC (2)

Hi to all and any that currently follow my blog, Views From The Ridge…

I have now moved to a WordPress.Org blog and that means that you wont get to see any of the posts in the wordpress reader. If you still fancy following me and my posts, then please click on the link below and add your email address to the subscribe widget. Just click here www.viewsfromtheridge.com 

 

 

Poppy Wreaths Are Laid

I left to serve with happy heart,

no thoughts of death or fear,

I even smiled and thought to tease, my Mother’s silent tear.

Rem

“Don’t worry Mother, dry your eyes and wish me all your best.

For Kaiser Bill will scamper quick, when Pals he tries to test.

We’ll sweep him up and throw him out of Flanders bonny fields.

For God is with the righteous; his glory as our shields.

I’ll be right back afore you know, your tears will hardly fall,

So see me off, with one more hug, for I answer duty’s call.”

Warboys

A warm farewell from cheering crowds and bands of fife and drum.

So soon to France and trenches, and cold that made me numb.

With whizzbang shells and sniper fire,

my happiness soon ebbed.

For nothing saps your spirits,

like rats gnawing on the dead.

hunts

The winter turned to mud and snow,

some died from it alone.

No silent night this Christmas,

the war had changed its tone.

No honour left ‘tween Fritz and us,

no truce to play a game.

Our only goal, to kill them all,

for they’re the ones to blame.nworth

 

Then the push to end it, how true that was for me.

I got twelve yards with stumbled steps and didn’t even see,

the bullets cutting like a swathe,

my guts all ripped to hell.

No pain, no sound, no screaming cries,

no tolling of a bell.

City

 

My face in mud, my breath all gone,

a darkness then a light.

I know I’m dead, yet am back home,

my Mother in my sight.

Her tears are falling hard and fast,

a bugle call is played.

A silence falls around the town.

Then poppy wreaths are laid.

WA War Memorial

My perch on high, unbounded force,

affords a spirit’s view.

I think some years have flown past,

I’m sure it is a few.

No more my pals who made it home,

seem to gather here.

Remembrance Day Crosses

 

No more can I see Mother,

no more her silent tear.

Yet now some others march instead.

Old men who were not born,

when I went forward into death,

my young life ripped and torn.

Kings Park eternal flame

And though no wreath that’s laid this day, restores my life to me,

Each allows my soul to rest, held safe in memory.

 

By Ian Andrew,
taken from The Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses
Flanders Image © IMW
All other imagery © Ian Andrew

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A Self-Harming Society

337px-US_halfstaff_sunsetThe media are going to concentrate on the intentions of the shooter. They will make sure the story is all about ISIS, but it so isn’t. They are so wrong. The issue is how many atrocities does it take to realise your ‪#‎gunculture‬ is broken? If you were a self-harming teen, we’d take the knife away, but you’re allegedly the world’s biggest and best democracy. Really?

I don’t believe you understand the strength of a democratic society. If you did, your majority would have overturned your archaic gun laws already. Your majority would have, long ago, put a stop to the manipulation, hounding and dictatorial outpourings of a minority of lobbyists and extremists who have maintained a false fear in you. When will you realise that you can change things? I suppose probably never, for you have had it in your power for so long and yet you fail at every turn.

I grieve for the loss of so many, but I can’t sympathise with the USA anymore. As a nation you are failing in your number one requirement, to protect your citizens. Well done. I am sure the founding fathers would be impressed. I see no life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness in ‪#‎orlando‬ or the other 14 places where more than 4 have been injured or killed by guns in the USA, THIS MONTH alone (and we’re not even halfway through).

I have no doubt the media will underplay, if even mention at all, the fact that this guy bought an ASSAULT RIFLE from a shop in ‘Main Street’ America. I have no doubt, that if this post gets shared, commentators will remark on the intentions of the shooter, not the means. But the means is the issue. If he was a crazed, zealot homophobe with a knife, then we wouldn’t be looking at 50 dead. And yes, sadly, scale is meaningful. It is a tragedy when one life is lost, how much more so when it is 50? Why do you need the right to buy an ASSAULT RIFLE anyway? Really, why?????

The red coat militia are not coming over the hill and even when they did the majority of you didn’t bear arms to fight. The rest of the great democracies are looking at you now and shaking their heads. You, the USA, are meant to be the World Leader. World leadership? Really? You can’t be trusted to lead. You can’t be trusted with sharp implements let alone ASSAULT RIFLES. At some point the sympathy stops because there is only so much that can be explained away by a piece of legislation drafted in 1791. You don’t think times have changed? You don’t think some laws are worthy of re-examination? Obviously you don’t. So all we can do is wait for the next mass shooting. In a day. Or maybe two. When you can blame the intentions of the crazy man, or the sad man, or the lone teen and forget entirely that in other societies, where you can’t get your hands on that type of weaponry, the bodies do not pile up. ‪#‎RIP50 

New and Old Friends – Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival Day 3

Always a delight to meet passionate readers, writers, bloggers and reviewers. Even better when they are all rolled into one 🙂

Reading, Writing and Riesling

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

This years festival has been outstanding! I have been privileged to hear some great authors share stories about their latest releases and writing in general. Some are “old friends” (authors I have read previously to the festival), some are “newly discovered friends”.   Thank  you Sulari Gentill, Sara Foster (and hello to Sara’s charming parents), Dr Liz Byrski, Rosemary SayerBernice Barry,Ann Turner, Madelaine Dickie, Josh Langley, Ian Andrew (always a delight to meet a fellow blogger who just happens to be a best selling crime fiction writer)  What generous people you all are!  Sadly I could not attend every session or the External/parallel events… so much talent so little time 🙂

I will wind up my spotlight on the festival with a few images from day 3.

day 3 MRRWF 005 Short Story Panel

Michael Cathcart interviews Ann Turner Michael Cathcart interviews Ann Turner

And

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Ali – A Good Man – The Greatest

Muhammad-Ali-Quote-Top-10-Rules-For-Success-Greatest-Fights-Evan-Carmichael

I know we have all figured out that 2016 is a potentially hazardous year to be famous, but it isn’t that famous ‘ish people are dying that is surprising me. It is the iconic status of those who are being recalled to … (insert your own thoughts here, God’s Bosom, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Atomic stardust, wormfood). Seriously… Bowie, Prince, Professor Snape, it’s like the Grim Reaper has turned on Icon Recall mode… Yet all these, the rest and more, pale to a fragment of a sparkle compared to the shining brilliance that was Ali.

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 (Photo credit -/AFP/Getty Images)

He was the first global superstar that I became aware of. Yep, I know there were other sporting legends I was aware of prior to him, I mean, seriously, I grew up in Northern Ireland, a tiny place that gave the world the Best football player ever, the most maverick snooker player, the finest pentathlete and the most iconic biking road-racers, but these were homegrown. I was later aware of Borg and Năstase, Pele, Beckenbauer, Spitz, Dawn Fraser, Shane Gould, Olga Korbut and Nadia Comăneci but they were mostly later and none of them, not one, reached into my consciousness like Ali.

The_Rumble_in_the_Jungle_poster

1974 – I was eight (and a half) and there was a fight in Africa. The Rumble in the Jungle, Kinshasa, Zaire. Held at the 20th of May Stadium on the night of October 30, 1974 and I remember it like it was yesterday. But not just the fight. The build up. This brash, boastful, loud yet fantastic and lovable man, telling anyone who would listen (including the brilliant Harry Carpenter) that he would come back, (he had been stripped of his title for conscientiously objecting the draft) and now, after battling up through the contenders, he would beat a younger, bigger, stronger and arguably faster George Foreman.

rum3

The night, the fight, the tactics and the result are iconic in themselves and need no further explanation, but it was this man, who shouted after that fight that he was the Greatest and I and the world quickly understood it to be true, it was him that would be the centre of the world’s attention. The most famous, the most iconic and in the spotlight, the simple truth; this was a good man. Kind, considerate, caring..

rum2

This incredible power of nature, who transcended the ring, his sport, all sport, the colour of his skin, the faith he held and the people who undermined him. This man, later to become a close friend of his beaten opponent, held an Olympic title, regained the world title an unprecedented three times, overcame persecution, ridicule and disbarment. He talked loud, move fast and light and hit hard, yet when all was done, this man was a true sportsman. Embodying the aggression and passion to win and immediately, on completion, being respectful and serving his fellow human beings.

rum4

I never met him, I didn’t know him in any way other than what I saw on TV, yet I felt like I knew him. I felt like he was a good man. I understood him to be the true meaning of a good man. That is why I felt so much empathy and sympathy for him when he was struck with Parkinson’s. Why I cheered and cried when he lit the flame in Atlanta. Why I did the same when they restored his Gold Medal and now, on the 4th of June 2016, why I mourn him in a way that is much keener than it should be for just a famous person I never met. He was Ali, a childhood hero, a good man, the Greatest. Rest in Peace.

Ian
Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purposethe detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Pathand the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media:

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(Photos may be copyright – no infringement intended.)

Best Selling Crime Writer – 2015*

I am – well, I was – well with a small caveat. Best selling crime writer of 2015 – in the best bookshop in Busselton, WA. I know, it is a narrow criteria, but, it’s true – I outsold all other crime writers. I may have a tee-shirt made up. The caveat might be in small writing – on the back. But, nonetheless, the truth of the statement is there for all to see. All I need now is to have a thousand more bookshops across the globe love and promote my books the way Barefoot Books of Busselton does…

I owe them a great deal of thanks and so, I was very happy to have the official Australian launch of Flight Path in their marvellous shop, nestled within Fig Tree Lane.

Peta and Bob and their fantastic staff – “The Minions“, laid on a great day on Sunday 1st May and a good sized crowd turned up for an hour or so of me doing a few readings, telling a few stories, answering some questions and signing a few books. Thanks to all who came out on what was a relatively overcast day for Western Australia. Pictures, courtesy of Minion Steph, are below.

 

 

End

35 days. 1555 miles driven. Multiple more train-ed, ferry-ed and flown. Seven author talks. Three days in a book fair. One old politician seen. Eight counties stopped in. Many more travelled through. Too many friends and family met up with to count. So many thanks owed for so much hospitality shown. Occasions and experiences that were great, some poignant, some sad. All in all, quite a trip but glad to be bringing it to a close now.  Uploading this on a mobile on board an Airbus so who knows what order or format the images will load in. Oh yeah, I had a go in an Airbus simulator while in London, so feel ready to step in if needed. Till later. Ian.