Friday, September 22, 2023

Reflecting On Time

With Dwight Yoakam at the Jim Henson Recording Studios

It has been an interesting week that has given me pause to reflect on how best to use every minute of each day. On Monday evening  I was practicing my harmonica with the Cross Eyed Boys, the band who play for Men Of The Word, Brad Klassen's Bible study that meets on Wednesday evenings at Grace Community Church. On Tuesday I was out at The Masters University in the laboratory as an Adjunct Professor teaching anatomy to a score of Biology students.  We were focusing on the axial skeleton, one of my favourite subjects, and especially the skull. I took the oportunity to bring is a brilliant dissection so that they could all see the teeth and the ossicles.  At luncheon in the Mustang Grill I met Ken Mays again who kindly gave me his new CD of his collection of his jazzy arrangements of Christmas music. Ken has retired and the collection represents a life of devotion to music and teaching it.

See Below - Death's Castle

Now on Wednesday I was in Practice at my new professional home with Dr Eric Donaty DMD on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. What a joy to interact and work with this Tufts-trained master of his craft. I have occasion to reflect on my first landing in America at Logan Airport on an exchange scholarship to Tufts in 1972. 

On Wendesday evening I played with the band, and before the formal instruction on Ecclesiastes, "Life Outside The Garden", Dr. Klassen brought Brian Jolley up and asked us to pray for him as he has been diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Perhaps you will also offer up a prayer. None of know when we will be called, and how quickly our pursuits will be forgotten.

Dr Brad prays for Brian

Now on Thursday I was back in practice and received an invitation to watch an album being recorded. After many month of concerts and recordings Dwight Yoakam is putting the finishing touches to his new Country album, and I was able to actually enter the lot that I have known only to drive by for many years as "A and M Records" which then still bore the statue of Charlie Chaplin the studio's founder, but now has Kermit the Frog as an effigy of Chaplin. The studios are amazing, and we were in the same space where the Carpenters and Carole King had made their recordings, as back up vocals were being laid down for what promises to be a hit album. Dwight is having his dreams come true as he polishes up his gifts with this blessed comeback. I pray I can use my time as well.

Here is a reflection you may enjoy:

 Death’s Castle

I had this architectural evaluation of the skull published in the Guy's Hospital Gazette. Poets abounded at Guy's.  After all, Keats was a medical student there.

Dusty chinks, caverns and pale walls,

Life once enclosed has gone from your halls,

And now below parapets pitted and brown

Hollow blank crypts are staring down.

By flying buttresses they are shored

Their socketed senses now are flawed.

Unsealed vault and arching dome

Where frail haunting spirits roam,

Thy bleached facade's a reminder grim

Death's mask to our kith and kin.

Cold afront horrid to behold,

Yet no horror in the thin walls old,

For silence lurks behind the pall

The mark of time now past recall.

Men shelter their brows at your ghastly sight,

Their eyes are sightless, blind, not bright,

They see not the words by the temple light.

And speaking not of their chiefest dread,

Their tongues are lost in a damp, mute bed,

By the falsehood of unspoken words they're led.

Turning their heads they hear not the song,

Their muffled ears deaf to the gong,

Unhearing their pitiful state they prolong.

Their chosen deception filtering out,

The musk of spoor-odor you leave about,

And all life's sweet perfumes they know not to doubt.

I have it now, sight, sound and all,

Dull smell of relapse in the room where you fall.

Now halted life's kernel, a once bitter taste,

No longer strikes chords of fear and waste.

My eyes, not blind, have shown me the path,

A new mind accepting your wrath.

Low barred dungeon whose stone is rolled,

The secrets of wisdom for us now unfold.

Soft whispers of truth which fill the air

Mask the trumpeter sounding there.

The crunch of the marching step is dull,

All is seen, I gaze on the skull. 

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Live Not By Lies

 We all know, we can all see that our country and our culture is falling apart. The fulfilment of the biblical prophetic predictions are occuring before our eyes and tragically the vast majority of the population are either silent or do not care to question what is happening. They are decieved into accepting or thinking that it is all a part of progress;  that it is all for the good, for the benefit of all and they are wrong, dead wrong.

If you have been shocked by the wokeness that we are seeing transition into an accepted way of life, if you have found a favorite book that has been rewritten with wording the the author never wrote, if you feel that you are being taxed  to pay for causes that you do not believe in you are not alone, but you may be a part of a small but important significant minority - and your voice is not being heard unlike eveyone elses.

Then you must read this book "Live Not By Lies" by Rod Dreher

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Lala Salama


I was born in Oxford. From the age of four, until eleven, I grew up in Kenya, East Africa. My father had been recruited by his former commanding officer to come and work in the colony, and my mother followed him out with us children, my brother and sisters. We did not really know what our Dad was doing in Kenya, but we certainly had an interesting life. We hunted for the pot and lived up country where there was no electricity or refrigeration.

It was not until I was sitting in the hot tub in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, with my father, and when I had asked him, "Do you remember the first time I saw a dead body?" That started a conversation that would begin to reveal what my father was really doing in the colony in the 1950's.

The title Lala Salama mean "sleep peacefully", a Swahili blessing. As children we slept in many places and so the words are chosen to refer to the many changes that occured in our lives. 

My mother worked at many jobs to support us after she and our father seperated. One of them was as corresponding secretary for Carr Hartley, the white hunter and international game exporter.  The cover shows our mother holding the cheetah Rita.

As this book unfolds it reveals the nature of our lives in a British colony at the zenith and end of the colonial era, it answers the question of what my father was really doing in Kenya. It also explains why we had such interesting pets.

Neil with a lion cub in Rumuruti.

You can see a list of my book titles on the website

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

My Wife's Dog and Other Stories

Many years ago, after my father passed away, I received a sheaf of carbon copied typed stories which he had written in the 1950's after he was posted to Kenya.  He had nearly finished his degree at Merton, Oxford and was honing his skills under the tutelage of the London School of Journalism. Well I have finally transcribed them, and had some help editing them and here they are. If you get a chance to read them do let me know what you think.  Here with thanks to Philip Watt for his editorial eye are thirty nine new stories and impressions each with its own twist at the end, and I hope you enjoy them.

The book is available on Amazon in digital and hard or soft copy:

Do take a look at my book website: