Book Covers and Monks


A calm, meditative, peace-loving Buddhist monk? Uh, no. Ashin Wiratha, the “Burmese Bin Laden”, preaches hate and discrimination against Muslims, and has now called the UN’s special envoy to Burma a “bitch” and a “whore”. So there you go. As the French saying has it, L’habit ne fait pas le moine. Literally, “the clothes don’t make the monk”, often translated as “you can’t judge a book by its cover”.

You might think I’m now going to analyse religion, discrimination and Burmese politics. Sorry to disappoint – I’m simply going to add a poll to this post. Trivial, I know, but blogging 101 has got me hooked!

It’s just for practice, really, but I’m also genuinely curious: how do you judge a book? Several answers are possible (if I’ve done it right).


What if the proverb is confirmed? Will I be able to go for something that really sucks? Or is totally irrelevant? Hmm…

blog cover



A Million Windows

Malaysia 09 293

The lift came to a halt. Stepping out, he found himself in a courtyard, surrounded by high-rise buildings. In the gaps between the buildings, other buildings loomed, each one a hundred storeys or more, as far as the eye could see.

He spun round slowly, taking in the scene. The sheer number of windows. All dark. All the same. There must be as many again that he couldn’t see. Hundreds of thousands. Millions.

And I’m supposed to find my way around here?

He stepped back into the lift. He was about to press the button when a voice called, ‘Hey, Curtis!’ A young woman approached. Frizzy black hair. Glasses. ‘You leaving already?’ She had a friendly, welcoming expression which he liked instantly.

‘Must have got out at the wrong floor. I pressed 101 and… Well, it’s just too big, you know? I’m going back. Underground.’

‘Wait. Let me show you something.’ With a sweeping gesture, she indicated the buildings. ‘You’re right – kinda frightening, huh? And they all look the same. But they’re not. Hundreds of windows on every storey and behind each window the story’s different.’ Her features spread into a 🙂 ‘Here.’ She handed him a bag. ‘A welcome present – a survival kit. There’s a load of gizmos inside – we call them widgets. This one for example.’ She held it up and pressed. A laser beam hit one of the windows. It lit up instantly, revealing a bright interior and someone inside, waving. She did the same with a few other windows. ‘See? They’re all different. Now look at this.’

She showed him a catalogue. Rooms, furniture, interior decoration. ‘Choose one you like. That one? Twenty-eleven. Fine. You can change it later if you want. What’s more important is what you make of it anyway.’ She gave him a key. ‘It’s waiting for you. Just go up and play with that bag of widgets. If you need any help, you can give me a call. Name’s Michelle, by the way.’

He soon discovered there were people at every window, beams of light flashing all over, forming a vast, interconnected, ever-changing cluster. A whole galaxy at his fingertips. ‘Hmm, Faraday’s Candle – I like that. And Losing Screws looks cool. Oh, and Hogrider Dookes is Welsh, like me! And there’s umpteen things going on there…’

A week or so after taking up residence, he didn’t feel quite so lost. On the other hand, he realised, it would be quite easy to get lost – so much going on, so many things to see. Maybe it was time to take stock. What was it now he was really interested in? Ah, yes, writing. Or maybe not. Maybe it was just people.

Who and why


Well, that’s me. It was cold in Aberystweth that day. I took my family there because it’s where I first saw the sea. Luckily I’ve seen a few more seas since, including the Indian Ocean in Mayotte, where I currently live. Much warmer.

I might be finding inspiration, thinking up a brilliant story. More likely, I’m wondering when we can all go back and sit in front of the fire. And have dinner. Guinea fowl in cider sauce (recipe available on request).

I’ve written of who in other posts: writer, retired, French, Welsh, blogvelist. Also of the why (see Dear Reader), which is to connect what I write with people who maybe, hopefully, like and want to read it.

Welcome, then, to this blog. If you want to accompany me on the journey, I’ll do my best to make it pleasurable, bountiful and enriching. Bienvenue à toutes et à tous!