This is Helen! By Maggie Scratch

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Helen Gosch

A Poet? A Potter? A Candlestick Maker?

She’s busy everywhere!

She’ll be there if you need her,

that’s what a friend is for.

Helen, today you are the

“coy mistress.”

I quote from a poem you wrote,

Pulled into the World.

“I can imagine the awe felt

In the hands of all that is warm and beautiful.”

I can imagine it too.

 

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The written word for you is not enough.

You love to get your hands in all kinds of stuff.

You pulled this woman into the world—

you created her on a tray!

Helen of Tray!

The coy mistress…

This must be you!

 

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Maggie Scratch Pays Homage to Friend and Rebel Writer, John Howlett

JohnJohn, I’m glad I knew you. Writer to writer, you knew me too. You said it took guts. You said to keep working, you said, that’s all we can do. I’m still here doing it and I wish you were too. I had seen your screenplay come alive with If… when I was twenty. That film tweaked my rebellious spirit, and I never forgot it, then I met the likes of you and understood, so this is what a writer can do.

I thank The Guardian, and your brother, Peter, for your write-up on April 8, 2019.

“His admiration of the rebel and actor James Dean and his research for the 1975 TV documentary James Dean: The First American Teenager led him to write a biography of the actor the same year and subsequently a West End musical, Dean, which had notable success in Japan – though less so in London.

Screenplays followed for his own Murder of a Moderate Man (1985), then a serial adaptation of Len Deighton’s Game, Set and Match (1988) for Granada TV, as well as several original radio plays for the BBC. He also co-wrote an outline story for a film, Crusaders, which became the basis of Lindsay Anderson’s award-winning 1968 hit, If…

From the mid-1970s John published a series of novels – mainly thrillers focusing on contemporary issues such as nuclear power, air safety, the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the origins of the Aids crisis. His leftwing sympathies and distrust of the establishment characterised these novels as well as much of his other work in the 80s and 90s.

John’s interest in the first world war, sparked by his teenage conversations with veterans of that conflict, allied to the meticulous research that characterised all of his work, provided the basis for Love of an Unknown Soldier (2010), which became the first of a six-volume saga set against the background of the political turmoil of the first half of the 20th century, covering the rise of fascism, the Spanish civil war and the second world war.

John was born in Leeds to Rex Howlett, a senior civil servant, and his wife, Leila (nee Cagna), who was born and raised in Milan. His early writing work was rooted in his experience as a rebellious student at Tonbridge school in Kent and then Jesus College, Oxford, where he studied history. It was with fellow Tonbridgean David Sherwin that he wrote Crusaders, which satirised public school life.

Later in his career, never having been comfortable with the commercial world of publishing, John found new creative stimulus and freedom through self-publishing and re-issuing his work online.

Living in Stone-in-Oxney, Kent, and then in Rye, East Sussex, with his Italian wife, Ada (nee Finocchiaro), whom he married in 1967, he was an active member of his local communities, renowned for his warm hospitality and strong opinions.”

He is survived by Ada, Isabel and Suzanne, five grandchildren, and his brother, Peter.

 

Do You Believe in Reincarnation? by Maggie Scratch

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My New Friend

That’s a gigantic bone Noire is chomping on.

I get a whole bag of bones from the village butcher.

 But Noire was my friend

before I ever gave her a bone.

One day, Noire the valley shepherd dog jumped up to greet me on the Camino

as if she’d always known me.

As if she was my dog,

from way back when.

I had a dog like Noire once.

And here she is

come back to walk with me

again.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, bones to bones.

Noire, the valley shepherd dog,

my new friend

 my old dog

 come back home.

 

Noire in red

Noire in Red

 

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Infinity Serendipity

Maggie Scratch on the Camino

El Camino de Santiago

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Mr. ED

It’s a long story about a horse. His name was Quel Ami, What a Friend! I called him Mr. Ed. He didn’t talk, not like humans do, but he spoke to me and I spoke to him. I’m not a usual animal-bonder, I have my preferred pets, my only ones, the ones I love forever. I didn’t know Mr. Ed would become one too. I was on the way down the Camino to see him like I did every day, only this time I had an apple in my pocket and that’s when I met Marie. I was headed to the spot where I took his picture only the day before, and I’m lucky to have it, because Marie told me, “Quel Ami est mort!” It’s a long story about a horse, but in the end, Marie and I have bonded, thanks to Mr. Ed. She loved him too! We miss him, el caballo solitario del camino, the Camino where magical moments happen, El Camino de Santiago.

 

Feeling at Home by Maggie Scratch

 

 

 

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Merci beaucoup a Rocio, grandmother, Nais, daughter and Kiliana granddaughter

It isn’t every day that people take me into their home, but when they take me into their hearts, that’s feeling at home.

Feeling wanted, feeling loved, feeling like I belong.

I’ve been a foreigner half my life, I’ve learned to live outside the klan, to find my own tribe’s drum.

But what—here I am!

Here I go?

Again? 

Yep!

Couldn’t deny the opportunity to live in a new country.

France!

People are people all over the world.

It’s the heart that counts.

Like Keb Mo says,

“It’s becoming clear I can feel it down in my soul.

I know that I am you and you are me.”

I like this way to live.

It’s a good way to be.

 

 

Do You Get the Picture? by Maggie Scratch

Katja

https://www.facebook.com/katja.rusanen

https://www.facebook.com/karmacleanse/?

I’ve heard you can tell everything about a person by the face. I never really considered this before now. I might go one step further and say, by the eyes. Do you have a calling? Some of us have careers. I think a calling can become a career but I’m not sure if all careers are callings? In Katja’s case, whether you look at her face or her eyes, it’s clear. She has been called upon to follow the path she loves. “Live the Loving,” was her message to me. Well, one of her messages. We flew through Time and Space in Barcelona, on a sofa, side by side, on a hot day in Las Corts. We could have been in Pennsylvania, in Timbuctoo, or in Tibet. I came to have my karma cleansed, or better, “realigned.” Spiritual realignment, yes, why not? I’ve been to a chiropractor to realign my bones. But what about the part of me that I can’t see? I know it’s there, that heart-part, that spirit, that soul, why does it feel so out of tune? Out of shape?  Out of place?  I thought Katja might help shed a little light on this karma of mine. She has no idea what she did. She pulled a name out of my heart. The name of a friend I wanted to make peace with.  I wrote to this friend in my notebook: “What’s the problem?” I asked. “Live in the loving,” I told her. “Forgive me, I forgive you, let’s be friends again.” I had no idea she was dying. She died the next day.

“Ringing Out Love” by Maggie Scratch

It’s Easter time again. Sure comes around fast, doesn’t it? Where were you last time this year? I wasn’t here in Saint-Alban. I never would have imagined last year I would be where I am now. It never entered my head. How would I know I would be in these farmlands with pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago? Pay attention I tell myself now. Pay attention to your life as it is. The secrets are there in the obvious. Who knows where you will be in one year? Surrounded by love hopefully!

 

It’s Not That I’m Saying Goodbye by Maggie Scratch

Kasia and Me.jpgI’m leaving Barcelona, but I’ll be back.

There’s always so much work to do.

Spread the word!

The soul is love!

Have fun, be a friend, be a buddy, pass on the good stuff.

Here’s Kasia from Warsaw with a world of words in her head.

 Polish!  German! English! Spanish! And Catalan too!

A culture-bug-bookworm with Master’s Degrees!

Linguistics! Communication! Philology!

What does all this mean?

Find your path and hit the road.

Dig in.

There’s gold in our roots.

I’m getting my boots on.

I’m ready, let’s go!

Every step we take, here we are!

My Piece of the Sky by Maggie Scratch

1499464_10202313805982579_863405162_nI can see the sky from my roof.

Another year of seeing the sky.

Another year to look at beautiful things.

Another year to think.

Another year to laugh.

Another year to love.

To be loved.

To be amazed.

To be crazed.

And dazed.

It’s all so precious.

So delicate.

Such a fight!

To get to the good stuff.

To…see the light!

Happy New Year to You!

Happy New Year to me!

Another year of reprieve!

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Is Caspar Still the Star-Crossed Mystery Man? by Maggie Scratch

It’s not every day I’m in the presence of Caspar. When I am, I don’t skip a beat. I can’t!

His wit! His information!  His jokes! Our ping-pong-cinema-trivia game!

It’s all too fast for me. I don’t even try to write it down. What? Take notes during a conversation with Caspar? Impossible! I don’t want to miss a word! I’m all ears and eyes, what will he say next? What will he write? Horror, comedy, religion, death? Will it be scary  and bloody too?

Caspar The Aristocrat!

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The Butler!

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The Minister of Defence!