Devastated City

Until May, 1940, Rotterdam was an elegant city of canals and stately historic houses in the Amsterdam style. It was a fine example of the Dutch genius for constructing beautiful cities where once, there were only water and swamps.

Then the Nazi bombers appeared in the skies, like a plague of buzzing wasps and demolished Rotterdam within a few hours.

Only one building survived: the St Laurens church near the city center. Built in the time of Erasmus, the St. Laurens church is portrayed in many fine old sketches and paintings done in the time of Rembrandt (copies of these can be seen today on a touch screen in the restored church). The St. Laurens church with its single, tall tower was badly damaged but it was still standing after the aerial blitz was over. 

The ruins of that church serve as a powerful symbol of the horror of the new era of aerial bombing which began on that day in 1940; the era of The Devastated City…….

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Elena Part 2

Elena: like so many Europeans of her generation who had endured the Nazi occupation, she had experienced horrors which after the war, she had put behind her, determined never to inflict her sufferings upon her children. But during the last days of her life, she had told her great granddaughter Andrea, her and her alone, about what she and her husband had endured.

 It was story from another time, another world, and Andrea, very much at odds with her country, suddenly realized how fortunate she was. The terrible events which Elena’s generation had experienced seemed to put everything into another perspective.

 In 2016 Andrea thought, along with everyone else, that the past was a scene from another era. That Elena’s story, kept secret for so long, was destined to die with her passing.  

 But what if the past could be reincarnated like a mythical figure out of an ancient Greek tragedy?

Could come back from the nether world and haunt the living?

 Elena’s story begins in Bucharest in the 1930’s, almost a century ago. It begins with an innocuous scene: two teenage women and a young man in love.

 But soon enough, Love will be in very short supply and vastly overwhelmed by the beast called Hate…..

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Aspasiya Part 1

As my flight neared Athens airport, I looked out my window. 

Beneath me was a barren, dry landscape of rocks, low hills and ocean. There were very few areas of arable land, let alone rich farmland. There were no rivers or lakes. It was a country which at first sight seemed to me more likely to be a place where humans had to struggle just to survive, never mind to think great thoughts and ask big questions…… Read more

Songs of Central Australia Part 1

It took two men, father and son, and the passing of almost eighty years to write it: ‘Songs of Central Australia’, one the greatest non-fiction books ever written and a precursor to the revolution in attitudes towards the original inhabitants of Australia.

The story behind the writing of Songs in Central Australia is no less remarkable than the book itself…….

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