Beyond this point there be Dragons!

Originally, this was to be the name of my new blog but there was a lot of variations already in the search engines and I decided on “Without Anaesthetic“. Why? Well the idea was that I share thoughts and musings (that weren’t either poetry or cookery), if you like, baring my soul, without the aid of medication to numb the pain and dull the senses… in other words, me, all of me and nothing but me.

However a good friend and prolific blogger advised me against trying to manage multiple blogs and thought it better that I should have one combined site – so here we are!

I think there are already enough drop down menus for you to deal with so I am going to make this the posts page, given that it will contain random thoughts as well as promoting the content of the other menus. I’ve made this post sticky, so it should stay at the top of the page. New stuff will follow, in order of newest first.

Cheers all! 🙂

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Halloween or Hello Iain

Halloween or Hello Iain or My gods art better than thy gods because Dylan got a Nobel Prize and I’ve got beautiful blue eyes (A stream of unconsciousness blues in open D tuning)


The saints are a-marchin’-on in and the rotting corpses rise committing sin, the kids are treating and tricking, too much candy soon be a-sicking, Thor is sore and the media’s a whore, Freya couldn’t give a flying Frig (she could do that you know). Shiva’s rapping like TuPac on crack and jiving to the Late Show; you know it makes no sense, all this booze and incense and by all that’s wholly all the vio-lence. The shooting and the maiming, the naming and the shaming, the rape of Mother Earth and the dearth of species no longer extant giving rise to green-minded rant and Maria says Halloween and I say Hello Maria. What day is it José – Halloween, Hello José. I could go on for hours; what day is it Ignacio: Halloween, Hello Nacho!

Takes them ages to get the gag. Hello Iain, whatcha seein’? Seeing mayhem and tragedy, seeing too much of everything and wishing it would stop. Seeing the Ice Man. The Ice Man cometh and the Devil’s leaving hell, clutching a bunch of black roses Captain Marvel (how come he never gets a movie?) leaps to the rescue only to be challenged by the bathroom police because, you know, he transitions, transits, trans It; it doesn’t really matter to me where you pee as long as there’s pumpkin pie and someone to die in my stead (you’ll find me in bed with Lennon!) John and Yoko – OH NO! 7ygdinfjdvfno Lifting kittens of keyboards and checking out the outboards, make sure there’s fuel – enough to escape for Yule and don’t forget to log the trip and tar the ship and blip! Blip! Blip! The sonar’s ringing, the angels are singing; it’s time to go, it’s time to run and yet we were all having so much fun and oh so much candy, legs getting bandy, tummy getting queasy, take it easy!! Seems like it’s all over and the fat lady ain’t singing: she’s a-swinging from the chandeliers, swiggin’ beers and calling out the haters, winkin’ at the lovers with quick seeya laters and all the souls need saving this and every night, this and every fight, this and every spite that we spit, and quit griping, quit wiping the tears, they won’t stop till the band won’t rock. And after all is said and done and doomed and groomed ready for the afterlife, the second wife, the new man, the charge of the Vanguard: we only have each other to blame, ourselves to name and yet another tree dies of shame. But wait! What’s that I hear now, a-comin’ in my ears? Is that the cry of freedom calling? Is that the echo of tears a-falling? Is that the butterfly effect? Is that the tree crashing to the ground in tumultuous uproar despite the lack of audience? Is that the fridge light on? Off? Is that the cat in the box? Dead or alive, we battle on and on and on and soldier through what we once knew to be absurd, no other word will do to describe where we are, what we have become and explain why pumpkins and candles give us one last handle on the fantasy that all is not lost and that we still might save the world, the lions, the elephants, the rhinos… and the list goes on. The list lost in mist, bewitched, bothered and bewildered by the bathroom signs and severely put out by the one that says engaged; enraged, exacerbated and ever so slightly, just a tad, a smidge, nothing really in the great scheme of things, but just very mildly miffed – like a Canadian whose bacon is just a little underdone and apologises for not ordering more clearly – the Saints go marching, the ghouls go wailing, the kids go snack-snagging (let’s not call it begging) and Hallmark carries on forever…

Where was I? Oh yeah! Halloween! Hello Lucia! Hello Iain! Hi Eva! At freakin’ last!


Iain – 31/10/2016

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When the last cow dies…

It seems the world of animal activism – much like many other areas of liberalism – is getting more and more closed-minded. It seems these days, it’s all or nothing. Now you have to go (pardon my pun) the whole hog!

I don’t think anyone would question my stance on animal cruelty, but I am constantly being alienated because I am a meat eater. I have been extremely vocal in the struggle to ban bull fighting and related activities, but I have had to distance myself from one of the main anti-taurino pages simply because they no longer post anything that doesn’t include a “go vegan” / “meat is murder” tag.

All kinds of animal rights causes are being diluted when battles against outright, everyday acts of cruelty can be won, but people like me who have helped win such battles, are being pushed aside. It is EXACTLY the same as the extreme feminist “STFU white man” rhetoric going on in the literary world. or the campus “safe space/trigger warning” debacle.

Apparently, it’s no longer good enough to be anti-cruelty; you have to be vegan too, to be taken seriously. Well you know what? Bite Me! I’ve been banging these drums for longer than most of these people have been pulling up their own pants, so yeah, bite me!

There is a discussion to be had about the cruel aspects of intensive animal farming, of course. Great, so table an agenda, stop tacking it on to every good deed, every cat shelter, anti-fur, anti-dog fighting Facebook post. I spent most of my adult life in the hotel and restaurant sector, both in management and in the kitchen as a Chef setting meat standards. I’ve seen slaughter houses. I know that what gets labelled as “humane killing” is far from that. It’s done the way it’s done (and I’m not going to be graphic) to preserve meat quality. It sure as hell ain’t pretty; it does what it is supposed to do. With all the cruelty, injustice and horror in the world, well to be frank, if the way we kill our food is your highest concern…tell you what, when it’s the last battle to fight, give me a call.

I don’t like chicken factories, I don’t like the way the birds are treated far less the quality of the product. But you ask Mrs Smith down at the supermarket if she is prepared to pay $/€/£12 per kg for chicken and then let those birds roam free. Meanwhile, how about we let all the birds we don’t eat out of captivity – close the aviaries, shut down the zoos? To me caging a creature that can fly is one of the most hideous acts of cruelty humans undertake. We won’t even get started on the whole blood-sports thing.

Oh, and now as they say, there goes the other shoe. Livestock farming is a greater contributor to global warming than the motor car. Really? I read about it, I can’t say the “statistics” convinced me, but then interested parties have been paying for research to improve their point of view for decades. Maybe, maybe not.  But, yeah basically I am now destroying the planet and a cruel bastard to boot! So, here my dear extreme vegan activist is the simple truth: You can convince everyone to stop eating meat, heck; you can even legislate for it, but don’t expect to be happy when you’ve finished. Farming is business. People do it to make a living, plain and simple. Ban GM crops, they’ll grow something else. Ban meat eating and they’ll grow something else. AND EVERY SINGLE DOMESTICATED ANIMAL WILL BE SLAUGHTERED. Oh, except the ones we don’t actually eat; you know dairy herds, sheep for wool – until we are told  that is cruel too and the economics kicks in again: Bye, Bye Black Sheep!

We can all help stop animal cruelty, from the guy in the street yanking too hard on a dog’s choke chain to the dog left outside all winter, the animal torture, the abandonment, giving to shelters, better yet taking from shelters, naming and shaming thugs and trophy hunters, and YES, looking after the livestock we raise to be a food source the best we can while it is alive. BUT we can do it without shaming people who are on the same side, just because they happen to accept that our metabolisms and digestive systems, even our teeth are designed to make us omnivores.

They only way we can’t help animals is by making them extinct. There is no “what if we put them on a ranch/reserve/petting zoo” option – have you any idea how many millions of animals we are talking about? Like I said, table an agenda; let’s talk about humane farming practices, raising prices, ending excess production and waste. Why not put up the prices for the rich, lower them for the poor, feed the poorest for free – our own first and then the rest of the world? OR you can carry on losing allies and alienating and shaming people and well…

…let me know how you helped the animals when the last cow is dead.

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Cheap Summer Rental in Almería, Andalusia, Spain + Cat Sitting

My house is a cosy two storey property that looks like a bungalow from the street, but has a habitable basement as it is on a hill. There are terraces on both levels and a lovely garden room on the side of the house. The kitchen is my pride & joy. It’s 3 minutes drive or 10 minutes walk from the beach, marina and shops and restaurants etc. Fabulous views over the golf course and sea and a community swimming pool across the road. 40 minutes from Almería airport. You would share the house with 3 cats that are friendly, although one is likely to only come home for food until he gets used to the idea of people being in the house. One is a bit clingy and needs lots of TLC when I am away; the other is a little softy. They spend most of the summer outdoors anyway.

I will be away for 14 weeks from late June to mid-September. The house is available from Saturday 25th June till Saturday 18th September. Rental by the week – minimum 2 weeks. Cleaning can be arranged @ €7/hour – min. 3 hours week. End of rental clean compulsory. Airport transfers may be available, but there are car hire firms at the airport which I would recommend in any case.

Ideal for spending a beach/day trip vacation in Southern Spain. My home is small and cosy, but with all mod cons (wifi, Spanish cable TV) – including the 3 cats! The views are spectacular and there are so many places to sit outside you will be spoilt for choice. Late in the evening after walking back from the marina and the vibrant square, sit on the balcony or in the decadent garden room and relax with a nightcap enjoying the sound of the sea, the crickets and the balmy summer breezes. If you are golfers, it is ideal. There are diving clubs within reasonable driving distance – I drive 100km to mine on a Sunday morning and am home for lunch. There are stables 5 minutes walk away if you like to ride and of course the beach is just a 10 minute stroll. The Alhambra in Granada is about 1 3/4 hours by car – you need to book in advance. Rental includes use of A/C which is essential here in summer. Welcome pack of basics in fridge etc + complimentary wine package.

Rates: House is 2 beds/2baths – sleeps 4

Family and facebook friends : €130/week + final clean

Friends of friends: €175/week + deposit + final clean

Others: €220/week + deposit + final clean

If you work in GBP you probably know the rate. The US $ is about 1:1 at the moment give or take.

Rental agreement requires cat care and at the very least not actually killing my plants.

Unfortunately due to insurance I cannot offer my car in the deal. Smokers welcome. Children welcome – could probably find a cot if needed. There are a copule of extra beds that could be put up, but would have to negotiate.

Contact via reply on page or FB PM

Location:  My home on Google maps

Photos: (more to come)

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Whispers and Echoes

On 8th November 2015 I had a heart attack – I nearly, almost, but not quite died. I have been thinking about it and very little else. THIS isn’t IT, but it’s all I have right now and I have to say something.


Whispers and Echoes


Nothing is quite the same anymore

not taste

not smell

neither sight nor sound

since the day I didn’t die


The past is a mystery, a veil drawn across

not clear

not true

neither good nor bad

since the day I didn’t die Read More

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Westward from Banff or Across the Great Divide

Westward from Banff


Across the Great Divide

Blue, white and gold gleaming bright

The articulated beast sits panting

Like a great dragon at rest

The sun barely painting the mountain tops The dragon roars and rolls Twenty-two coaches heading West

West through the mountains

West through the valleys

West through pine lined passes Read More

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Weekly Podcast

This  week I am reading “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

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Weekly Podcast – It’s me again!

Something short and bitter-sweet this week. Click to listen to “The Dismissal of the Best Friend” along with the other recordings from this season.

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Messin’ with The Bard – Episode 2

Here we go again! Click to hear Hamlet 3:1 – To Be or Not To Be

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Delayed Podcasts – get them while they’re hot!!

Due to travelling and work commitments, recording has been ahrd to do. So, here are the last two weeks’ podcasts coming along like busses!

Click to listen to “Unprompted” by me and “Death the Linguist” by Taylor Graham

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Friday is POETS day – podcast time!

This week I’m reading a song as a poem. It is by one of my musical heroes: Alex Harvey

Click to hear “Anthem”  If you’d like to hear Alex do it then click here

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Friday is POETS day – Weekly Podcast: My turn!

This week I’m reading my poem “The Writing is on The Wall”  which contains mild profanity.

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Friday is POETS Day! Weekly Podcast – Guest Poet’s Poem

This week I’m reading a poem by one of my favourite people and I’m going to be in a lot of trouble!! Hope you like it, Meg!! 🙂

Click to hear “But, Weight!” by Marie Elena Good.

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Friday is POETS day – weekly podcast

This week I’m reading a Lupine Love Story “Moon of Love” and there are some out takes too on the Bloopers page!! 🙂

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Friday is POETS day – Weekly Podcast

This week I’m reading one of my favourite well-known poems: “I Saw A Jolly Hunter” by Charles Causley.

If you fancy  a giggle, there are some out takes from this session on the Bloopers page! 🙂

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Friday is POETS day – it’s podcast time

This week’s podcast was inspired by Walt Wojtanik suggesting that I could actually do this – so I did! Click to listen to Laundry List

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Laundry List

This is the text of the podcast of the same name – inspired by Walt Wojtanik

Laundry List

Hotel Fabulous
(It isn’t!)
Laundry received before 9am
will be returned the same day
Items for dry cleaning will be returned before 11am
the following day
In the event of any errors guests are requested
to inform the Housekeeping Manager
at their earliest convenience
Laundry received without this form
will be subject to the hotel’s count – fair enough, pal!

Gentlemen’s handkerchief –coloured – 3  Read More

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Friday is POETS day – Guest Poet’s Poem – Walt Wojtanik

A great honour for me this week to be reading “Way to Find Neverland” by Walt Wojtanik

A great poem by a magnificent poet!!! Here’s to you Brother Walt 🙂

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Weekly Podcast 1/5/15 – A bit late!!

This week’s podcast poem is one of mine – a bit of madness made entirely from anagrams of my name! No! Really, it is! Click to listen to “Opium Den Galas

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April 2015 PAD – Day 30: The Luckiest Man on Earth

On April 30th 1939, the day Hitler died, Lou Gehrig played his last game for the New York Yankees. It was the end of a fourteen year, 2,130 consecutive game run. The Yankees retired his Number 4 shirt – the first time this was done in the MLB.

I’m ending the month with a found poem – this is compiled by Lou Gehrig’s retirement speech at Yankee Stadium, 4th July 1939.

The Luckiest Man on Earth

Today I consider myself the luckiest man
on the face of the earth.
I have been in ballparks for seventeen years
and have never received anything
but kindness and encouragement from you fans.
When the New York Giants,
a team you would give your right arm to beat,
and vice versa, sends you a gift—that’s something. Read More

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April 2015 PAD – Day 29: A Watchamacallit…It’s on the tip of my tongue…

On April 29th, 1852 the first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus was published, 50 years after its initial compilation. How many people know his first name, I wonder?

A Watchamacallit…It’s on the tip of my tongue…

NO! Not that,
I mean like that,
just like that,
but not that.
Well, that, only not THAT.

You know what I mean.
It’s a thingamabob,
a, oooh err, err… Read More

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April 2015 – PAD – Day 28: Hell No! We Won’t Go!

On April 28th in 1789 – A mutiny on the British ship Bounty took place when a rebel crew took the ship and set sail to Pitcairn Island. The mutineers left Captain W. Bligh and 18 sailors adrift. On the same day in 1967 – Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army and was stripped of boxing title. He cited religious grounds for his refusal.

Hell No! We Won’t Go!

It’s never made sense, it never will
One individual taking another’s life
Another steps up to take revenge
One leader leads us astray and we put another fool in their place
One fool followed by another, followed by a madman
Followed by millions of fools letting it happen Read More


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April 2015 PAD – Day 27: Paradise Sold

On 27 April 1667, poet John Milton sold the publication rights to Paradise Lost for £5 with a further £5 to be paid if and when each print run of between 1,300 and 1,500 copies sold out. The first run, priced at three shillings per copy, was published in August 1667 and sold out in eighteen months. The poem was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of the English language.

Paradise Sold

Once upon a time, children,
long, long ago we lived amidst the green
woods with deep running rivers,
with deer and bears and otters and birds.
Oh, oh so many birds, so many their song filled the air,
so many their flocks filled the sky
and the plants grew that we might eat
and yes, we killed, but with care;
we hunted with respect,
taking only those beasts we needed to feed ourselves,
catching only the fish that we could eat… Read More

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April 2015 PAD Links

I’ve added some useful links to the history that has prompted me on some of the poems for the April 2015 PAD. Mostly where the story is not well known or the inspiration not obvious.

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April 2015 PAD – Day 26: The Unceasing Human Capacity for Hate

On April 26 1913, Mary Phagan, a thirteen year old girl was found raped and murdered in the basement of a pencil factory where she worked in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Unceasing Human Capacity for Hate


The Knights of Mary Phagan Still Ride

They lurk in darkened taverns in hamlets
They sit in brightly-lit cafés in cities
The stroll the Corridors of Power
in every capital, in every land, they hide
behind avatars and pseudonyms in the comments
scrolling, trolling, slinging mud, firing bullets
in the paved streets of democracy.
Those who would control,
those who hate,
for hate’s sake  Read More

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April 2015 PAD – Day 25: Spiral Kaleidoscope

On April 25th 1953 – Dr. James D. Watson and Dr. Francis H.C. Crick announced the double helix structure of DNA.

Spiral Kaleidoscope

Sitting in RAF Bar in The Eagle,
sipping a well-earned pint, reflecting
on the past, the American airmen’s graffiti
adorning the ceiling, the tale of St Benedict,
patron of students, wondering how he’d have liked
the Anglo-Saxon contraction of St. Bene’t.
Mulling over how or why the name became shortened
from Eagle and Child unlike its namesake in “the other place” Read More

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