Social media is full of gringo moans about products no longer available, the dire hardships of social isolation and how upset they are about murders, demonstrations and the awful politicians misruling their far away countries of origin.

A friend is temporally disabled. The teenagers in the house are too busy with home study and social media to tidy, cook or clean. They complain about how hard their life is since covid19. I winge too of course.

Maybe we should all hark back to our families’ oral histories. What might our ancestors think of our petty concerns?

Even their recollections might be easy street compared to those in many war torn countries today. Perhaps desperate refugees and those who lost relatives in the Holocaust suffered more.

My Grandmother was born a rural, Irish Catholic around 1900.  Birth certificates were deemed unnecessary for such inferiors by the ruling British and Protestant elite.

Her grandparents told her of the Great Hunger, or potato famine. The blight turned their staple food into a putrid mush. They starved and could not pay the rent on their hovels. Absentee Irish landlords had them brutally evicted.  Their meagre belongings and homes were burnt. Some ate their dead.  

In Gran’s lifetime, her alcoholic father made the 13 siblings work in the fields, dawn till dusk. Speech was forbidden.

After the 1917 Easter Rising, in many villages the Black and Tan British soldiers shot men and molested the women.  

She went into service with a Dublin doctor. He tried to ‘interfere’ with her.

Fleeing to a sister in England, she married a wife-beating alcoholic. She returned to Galway to raise her boys alone. Back in England, she worked in low paid, insecure jobs all her life. Midnight flits were common.

Another grandparent, under age, volunteered to fight for King and Country in WW1. A photograph with his pals, elicited the story. He was saved from the fate of the others. His father pulled him from the troopship bound for Gallipoli. He and his wife were unemployed for 10 years during the great depression.

Another family member saw his best friend blown to pieces in France. Returning home, he found his wife had died in the flu pandemic. He spent 30 plus years bedridden with what we now call PTSD.

Oh, how hard our lives are. Poor us!


 The UK government admits that it will miss its recycling target of 50% of supermarket waste by 2020. No surprise, all such targets are laregly a sop to green opinion worldwide. Governments agree to targets, but focus on lining the pockets of their cronies and attacking foreign countries.

Shockingly, 73% of UK supermarket packaging is either non recyclable, or so badly labelled as to be so. Also recycling policies vary by municipality. There are easy fixes for these things. 1. A standard set of requirements for municipalities, supermarkets and grocery manufacturers. 2. Fines for non compliant supermarkets, municipalities and manufacturers. 3. Taxation on all products with non recyclable packaging.

Research shows that ants and insects are rich in anti-oxidents and help against cancer. Anyone up for preparing for a 'save the ants' campaign?

We found a pipistrelle in a doorway this morning. This is Britain's tiniest bat. I moved it to a safer ledge. When we returned, it had gone. As they are insectiverous, it is more likely to have provided food for a predator or moved than died of cancer.

Life is more complicated than we are led to believe.

 We continue our UK visit.

The UK media is pretty good at raising some of the issue. UK friends seem well informed.

1. A very responsible couple came to dinner. We discussed pollution and disposal of plastic food containers. They challenged our assertion that we should wash and clean plastic food containers and recycle them. They argued that in many cases the necessary heated water and soap were themselves polluting and made the practice questionable for many dirty items.

2. Today's UK Times had an article arguing for a pollution tax on tires. The pollution they throw off as they wear is a problem. We are also aware that disposing of used tires is an issue. In landfills, they work their way to the surface. A large tire dump near our UK place burned for a week with major pollution. The fire may have been started by the owners to avoid the cost of disposal.

3.Many FB posts claim that anything made of plastic can be made from hemp. This is BS. high performance plastics are used in critical aircraft components and many other engineering applications. Hemp based materials cannot do everything



Tombland- C.J. Sansom has a PhD in History. He is the best-selling author of the historical novels in the Shardlake series. These are murder mysteries set in Tudor England. His historical inights are matched with brilliant writing and thrilling plots.

His latest novel, ‘Tombland’ offers insights into a nearly successful uprising against oppression. It is relevant to revolutionary activities today. It is must read for lovers of well researched historical novels and aspiring revolutionaries.

‘Tombland’ is set in England’s then second city, Norwich, in Norfolk. It covers the period of Kett’s Rebellion. The historical records of this were rabidly splenetic, written by the scribes of those repressing it. Sansom offers new insights. You feel as though you are there.

Those Fools in Pompeii?

Reproduced from QCostaRIca

Q COSTA RICA – by Chris Clarke – Many readers have strolled through the ghostly ruins of Pompeii. The chariot-rutted streets; the broken pillars and the lewd frescos in the brothel, with improbably well-endowed participants, conjure up decadent lives snuffed out.

Most poignant of all are the human remains, posing grotesquely in solidified ash. The lonely man with the upheld arm failed to protect his lungs against the searing particles. The mother tried despairingly to save her child. The lovers were entwined forever in death. The man helplessly attempted to protect his beloved. The thief was found next to the gold hoard that led him to his doom. Why did they not run away at the first rumblings of trouble? Roman Grand Admiral, Pliny the Elder even sailed his ship to a nearby viewpoint. He died trying to observe the Vesuvius spectacle.

Over five years ago, my wife and I moved to Costa Rica from New York. Its lack of a military, tranquility and diverse wildlife sounded siren calls. Being British, we chose to live at a pleasantly cool 5,000 feet. This is the first thing that has been cool about the Brits since 1967. Our valley vistas, distant mountains wreathed in mists and incandescent sunsets are spectacular.

If we look up behind us at our mountain, all we see is rainforest. The silver-tongued realtors never mentioned volcanoes. Friends tell the same tale.

Conspiracy theorists might argue that the locals remain silent to boost the price of their farms. Maybe the inadequate maps are part of the plot. We thought that the volcano was over an hour’s drive away. As visiting it entailed driving down our ridge and up another several miles away, we assumed it was a completely different mountain.

Innocently, we moved into our tropical paradise. Large red rocks are scattered about the exotic garden. They set off the lush vegetation and passion flowers rather nicely. We never wondered how they got there.

One day, we took a tough two hour walk upwards, along jungle trails. Huffing and puffing we reached the clouds and the misty richness of trees, heavily laden with mosses and bromeliads. Finally, at well over eight thousand feet, the spectacular crater of Volcan Poas appeared before us. We gasped in the thin air. Until now, a major tourist attraction, the crater is awesome and one of the largest on the planet. It possesses all the features that cause two million cameras and selfies to click annually. Vertical cliffs, more than a mile around, show the stratified reds and browns of multiple past eruptions. They cause tourists to peer timidly over the edge into the depths. There, a bilious green acidic lake with plumes of steam cooks gently in one part of its floor.

Vegetation is sparse above the rim due to acid rain. Some plants have evolved thickened upper leaves to protect themselves.

Worried and home from our hike, our further research showed that recent eruptions were of steam and nothing of great concern.

Later, a local computer techie visited us from his village of San Roque de Grecia, two miles further down the valley. Cheerily, he shared his parents’ memories of molten boulders and ash damaging this distant barrio. A workman advised that previous damage had been confined to other ridges of the mountain in San Luis and El Cajon. The locals had sold their farms cheap to developers. He smiled, “It’s alright, only gringos live there now.”

And so, life went on. A few years back, an unrelated 7.4 earthquake caught us in a local gym. My wife was hospitalized. Her friend was badly injured and subsequently fled home to the US. Though concerned for my beloved, I secretly found it rather exciting, like surfing the waves of the earth. Why worry about apparently dormant volcanoes?

Then, it was back to barbeques, gin and tonics on the patio and listening to friends moaning interminably about the state of the US. Apparently, this is a deeply troubled country somewhere in a galaxy light years away.

We enjoyed a little schadenfreude when Volcan Turrialba, some 40 miles distant, rained choking particles on its villages. These had to be evacuated. “Poor people and animals.” Things became more serious when the glassy particles in the ash damaged jet engines and frequently closed the airport.

One morning three weeks ago, I took my dawn swim in a nearby Olympic sized pool. My dive broke the mirror of the surface and the ripples from my strokes painted the blue tiles below with shimmering shapes of light. As I broke the surface, I saw it. In the distance, the mountain, our mountain, was spewing steam far into the air. Driving home I saw people standing in the street taking pictures with their cell phones.

This phase continues. The local media now relegates our eruption to its later stories or middle pages. Only an exploding nocturnal light show of molten rocks briefly raises its profile.

Our drama is slowly developing over the weeks. An understanding of our long-lost brothers and sisters of Pompeii emerges. The process is like the story of how to boil a frog, without it jumping out of the pot. Why anyone invented the frog analogy is unknown. Maybe it was a hungry Frenchman, seeking supper between revolutions?

The process requires persuading a frog to bathe in pan of cold water. The heat is gradually increased, so that the poor amphibian never notices. Maybe that is what happened in Pompeii. Is it happening to us?

Or perhaps we will deliberately remain, to be encased in rock for posterity. Like the dinosaurs, we will be discovered in millions of years, probably by the dominant evolved cockroaches. Or maybe today’s ruling, unevolved cockroaches will break off from their wars of destruction and come to our rescue in the nick of time. Pass the gin!

– – – – –

Chris Clarke is a writer living in Grecia, Costa Rica. Since settling here, 6 of his works of fiction, written under the name of Aaron Aalborg, have been published on Amazon. They are available as e-books and in paperback. They often include scenes set in Costa Rica. ‘Doom Gloom and Despair’ is a book of short stories. Several are set in Central America and are darkly humorous. He is working on book number 7.


A collection of drole short stories. All end in catastrophe and horror.

Some will make you think. Others will amuse. One or two may do both.

- Sex

- Bloody murders

- Fierce, man eating animals

Fierce, animal eating men

- Suicides

- Cannibalism

- Mass extinctions

- The end of the universe

All are included for your amusement.

What jolly japes!



A Post Revolutionary Necessity

This joke cookbook is funny, but has serious political messages.

Recipes include:

- Trump a la Mode

- Real Windsor Soup

- Murdoch Stew 

and many More. It is certainly treasonous in the UK. It could also get you into trouble in Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

What we need to do with the 1% and why.

Available from Amazon as an e book and paperback.

All profits go to the charity Oxfam.


A Dangerous to Read Political Thriller


Aaron Aalborg's novel, Revolution is a frighteningly detailed and credible nightmare of a novel. Some readers see it as a manual for overthrowing today's corrupt and controlling governments. Others enjoy, the rapid pace and the clash between the military and the revolutionaries.

It follows the political thinking and actions of three UK revolutionary socialists. They embed themselves in the establishment and plot mass terrorism. Disillusioned with the failure of traditional communism, they develop and enact new and plausibly effective economic and political structures. 

The revolutionaries are opposed by right wing forces. The tension mounts. The action moves from the UK, to Paraguay, to the US and around the rest of the world at a breakneck pace.

Revolution is a must read for those who like action, political thinkers of both left and right and of course would be revolutionaries.

If Aaron mysteriously disappears or ends up in Guantanamo, it will because of this fiendishly devised book.

'Revolution' is available in both Kindle and printed form from Amazon. If you liv in the US Buy it here. Otherwise go to your local Amazon website.


A Historical and Contemporary Novel


They deserved it opens in 17th Century Italy. This part of the page turning plot is based on real events and people.

Our thriller features a 'coven' of rich, oppressed women, revenging themselves on their husbands in the most horrible ways. It is replete with rascally cardinals, a scheming pope and many wicked spouses, perhaps with one or two who merely get in the way. 

The male population of Italy becomes paranoid about their wives possible machinations. Repercussions, burnings, torture and retribution spread far and wide. The fabric of society is rent asunder.

Through the medium of mysterious messages enclosed in an Ancient Egyptian box, the plot moves on to modern day New York. It develops into a wider war of the sexes, featuring powerful women, international espionage, a pathetically weak US president and further excitement as it rushes to an unexpected finale.

You, the readers have to decide which of the murderers and their victims deserve their ultimate fates. 

There are some bloody murders and raunchy sex scenes, so be forewarned. They are essential to the story.

They deserved it is available in both Kindle and printed form from Amazon. If you live in the US, Buy it here. Otherwise go to your local Amazon website.

The Catholic Church required absolute obedience and belief or....

A Historical and Contemporary Novel