Escape To Paradise

A Paradise’ . . . WHB: Pen and watercolour – 2014

our world is not always a nice place to be
so let’s take off for paradise
to do that we must dream
so make a wish and dream
the dreams made from memories
choose daydreams
for they are made from pleasant ones
precious jewels of remembered moments
of childhood pleasures recreated in golden colours
under warm and generous skies
for what is nirvana but bliss
a perfect quietude
remembered from that golden age
when cares were so far away as to be invisible
and joy was present
in the simplicity of a walk in a spring meadow
in hesitant steps across a bubbling beck
in that breath of early evening air
bringing the scent of heather
and with it the rustle of new leaves
bursting to catch the evening air
amongst the rolling northern hills
the cradled landscape of that now distant home
forever a part of my being
both bedrock and comfort of my present
and succour of my hopes for the future


‘Roseberry Topping’ … WHB: Pen 1981

Tell me stories,
Sing me hymns.
As I remember
Let me weep.

Time is passing,
Friends are leaving,
Do I want
More hours to keep.

Midst purple heather,
Bracken brown,
Grass close cut
By hillside sheep.

Blue bells ring,
Rose berries ripen,
Let me lie
Both warm and deep.

Green hills surround
Where I was born;
Let me again
Amongst them sleep.


Lake Distriict-Borrowdale-1986

Borrowdale – Pen Sketch WHB – 1986  © 


Yes, my youth brought many vital moments
among my native hills.
Such interludes return now
in flashback and in dreams
in vignettes and in echoes;
instances of acute sensitivity,
memories more precious and persistent
as year passes into year.

I wish I had been more alive then,
more interwoven with my surroundings,
instinctively attached to the skies above
and to the rolling landscape below.

For there, on the vast wide-open moorland
where, above my breathing,
what I heard, was only the sound of the bees
visiting the sun-yellow gorse,
and the sighing rustle of the breeze
playing amongst the curls of bracken,
the blackbirds circling above in the sundown dusk,
calls of the curlew, lapwing and meadow pipit
lost in broom , hidden in heather.

Sometimes, in the bliss of solitude’s memory,
I have known a disregard for time itself,
and I sense I would happily reach eternal slumber
in the rapturous throes of such longing.



Hymn Of Hope

clouds weather sunlight sunrays

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on

When Green Hill led to Highcliff Nab
Up from Kemplah Fields, 
Then when all my world was young
And all was meant to be, 
Life was enriched by Nature’s call;
The world was one to me.

Now, when old age has taken youth
And life resolves in retrospection, 
Those childhood days become intense, 
The fount of my reflection. 

I feel, I touch, the close-knit turf
That dressed the hills I trod. 
The waves of bracken still haunt my mind
As if bespoke of God, 
And heather, clothing moor and dale,
Purpling the timeless scene, 
Rekindles every hope I have 
Been granted in the life I’ve seen.



Heart’s Journey

heart love sand

Photo by Pixabay on



Age has brought no end to loving
Never the torch has shone so bright
Always wishing, always searching, 
Will it last me through the night? 

And when the morning breaks again
Upon those northern heather moors
Will my ageing heart return
Will it still be yours? 






I Remember

affection afterglow backlit blur

Photo by luizclas on



 So well I remember, 
Can I forget 
Those long summer days 
When you and I met? 

The moors were in heather 
And I was in haste; 
My heart it was yearning
Your lips to taste.

But you were indifferent,
Your eyes were elsewhere,
Oblivious to me
And life wasn’t fair.

So I buried my pride,
Gave in to sorrow. 
I’d learnt a hard lesson,
There was always tomorrow. 

Now that day it has come 
And we’ve met up again. 
You express your regret 
For the ache, for the pain. 

But I can’t now rekindle 
Those feelings I had. 
Time has taken its toll,
Our story is sad. 


banner-red scroll






The Waterfall


Canonteign Falls, Dartmoor, Devon . . .  Pen & Wash by WHB


Humble in its origins
on the heather moor
rolling gently down towards
the valley’s deep green floor

Suddenly the land gives way
beneath its watery tread
and  leads it down the rocky face
towards the river bed

Down the limestone outcrop
over mossy stones
beside the yellowing bracken
it bubbles sighs and moans

Until at last its downward race
is given a pause for rest
before it has to carry  on
with renewed force and zest.




The Paps of Jura

juramapI proffer just a short profile of one of my favourite islands of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.  I include just a few photographs taken on my visit there a few years ago.

Jura is an isolated, dramatic, historic island.  It is a close neighbour of the larger and more populated Isle of Islay, which provides the main means of access to Jura, via ferry across the short Straits of Islay.

The road, which starts when alighting at the ferry terminal on Jura, extends northwards for about 8 miles.  It then peters out into a track leading to Barnhill, at the most northern end of the island. This cottage is where George Orwell chose to spend a good deal of the last few years of his life, working on his book, ‘1984’, a classic of modern literature.

On Jura’s one main east coast road is Craighouse, the only village on the island, which includes the island’s only church, shop and whisky distillery. The majority of the island’s approximately 200 residents live in this south-eastern part.


Jura – looking across the Sound of Islay from Port Askaig on Islay


One of the many rivulets running down from the mountainous West Coast


Looking across to Scaba from Jura


The Isle of Jura Whisky Distillery at Craighouse


Ready to tune up on the beach at Craighouse


Heather-clad moors – looking across from Jura to Islay

George Orwell and the Corryvreckan Whirlpool


The publication of Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ in 1949 might not have happened had an incident off the north coast of Jura not turned out differently.


Orwell’s cottage at Barnhill

 Orwell’s house on Jura looks northwards over the stretch of water towards the island of Scurba.  This stretch of water is known as the Strait of Corryvreckan, and it contains the world’s third largest whirlpool.

One day, whilst in a boat here, without any life-saving equipment, and very close to the whirlpool, Orwell and his three-year old son were thrown out of their vessel.  They were able to cling to the up-turned boat until, eventually, they were rescued by lobster fishermen.

In later life, Orwell’s son, in re-telling the story, wrote that . . .  

“. . . the family – including Orwell’s sister Avril, nephew Henry Dakin and niece Lucy Dakin – had been out on a small motor boat as part of a camping trip.  “Father got the tide table wrong,” he said.  “We got wrecked. We lost the outboard and got caught in the tide.” None of the party had been wearing life jackets, said Mr Blair. “My father and I ended up upside down underneath the boat,” he remembered.  “He pulled me out and dragged me ashore.  It was a pretty stupid thing to happen.  In the twinkling of an eye that could have gone totally wrong and we could have been swept away and drowned. And of course that would have been the end of my father because he was still really in the middle of writing Nineteen Eighty-Four – so that wouldn’t have happened.”


My own attempt at photographing the Corryvreckan Straits from a cruise ship in 2012