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Tick Tock Woe

About forty years ago I went out for a drink. During the session, I met up with a family member. We both enjoyed drinking and took a journey into the city; There is no recollection of the film we watched or the bars we visited. The only thing for sure is my return home was late. Well past midnight.

The following day my father was on the phone early:

“One of the warehouses has been vandalised; you better get over here”.

The warehouse had been broken into, and one of the forklifts has been used in systematic destruction. I suppose the cost of damage ran into a few thousand pounds. In those days you could buy a new VW Golf for about four thousand. The vandalism was not insignificant.

I left the warehouse and went over to the main yard where our trucks were loaded, and much of the manual work of the recycling business was carried out. Around three in the afternoon, I was arrested by two police officers.

“Where were you between two and six yesterday afternoon?”
“I was with my cousin in the City. We visited a few bars, watched a film and visited a few more bars. I returned home just after midnight”.

That is the fact of the situation: although the two officers did not believe me. I was subject to six hours of hell. At the end of the interrogation, the older of the two said he’d drive me home. During the journey he said:

“If you have committed the crime, make sure you get your story right with your cousin. Conspiracy to commit a crime is a serious offence”.

My reply was simple:

“There is no way my cousin is going to sit back and listen to this crap. I have had enough, you do not believe me, and that is your problem”.

His reply changed my life:

“In any other circumstance, I would accept your evidence. Only, in this case, your father is the one who has suggested your involvement. It is rare for a parent to imply a child has committed a crime. Most, defend their offspring no matter what the evidence or situation”.

I told the officer to drop me off at my local bar.

On that day, two things happened.

One: I never trusted a police officer again.
Two: I knew I was on my own, and always would be, and for the next thirty years I followed my path and lived as I chose.

It would have been my father’s birthday today and if ghosts exist and he reads this article. I finish with these words:

Tick tock the passage of time.
We joke about your deeds.
The truth about you in this story.

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Mercedes 280 E

Mercedes 280 E his favourite car

I saw this car during a visit to Berlin in August. Within minutes of taking the picture. I decided to write about this bitter and life-changing moment. We never forget the turning points in our life.

Berlin – Pentax MV – 40mm Pancake

Pentax MV + 40mm Pancake

Pentax MV + 40mm Pancake

Ok, so we went to Berlin. Beautiful City and a million and one photo opportunities. My idea was to capture the City’s essence through its architecture and sculpture. The pictures we see here are from one cassette of PanF. I developed the film in Rodinal at 50:1 for eleven minutes @ 20 degrees.

The negatives are sharper than the scans and will yield super images. I have only scanned the frames and slightly adjusted the exposure.

The objective was to see if a humble auto exposure camera and a lens which receives poor reviews could be a good companion throughout the break. I’m not going to make an opinion. Let the images be the evidence and you are the judge.


Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton

This is the Museum of Photography a homage to Helmut Newton. No doubt the images in the exhibition are fantastic. I am surprised the photographs are presented with plain glass in the frames: non-reflective glass would be a far superior choice. The images are ruined by reflection of the lighting and indeed the ‘viewer’ of the images. Helmut’s collection of personal items is fascinating. In the collection, we discover he used a Canon EOS 100 film camera!

Berlin One

Berlin One

Berlin Two

Berlin Two

Berlin Three

Berlin Three

Berlin Four

Berlin Four

These are four aspects of the same area. The City is in continuous re-build mode and it is easy to see how the sharp-edged City-Scape gives nice abstract photo images.

Berlin Bear One

Berlin Bear One

Berlin Bear Close Up

Berlin Bear Close Up

The Bear is the traditional symbol of the City. Yes, the ‘chariot’ image is poor, I have put it into the article to give the reader a perspective of where the close up comes from.

Berlin Wall Collapse Monument One

Berlin Wall ‘Collapse’ Monument One

Berlin Wall Collapse Monument Two

Berlin Wall ‘Collapse’ Monument Two

Unfortunately, the park and monument are in a poor and neglected state. It is evident this ‘statement’ is in the former East Berlin. There is much evidence of neglect and apathy in this area. Lots of rough grass and graffitied concrete, weed-infested walkways, give a real feeling that the West still rules.

At the centre is a sculptural wall surrounded by a small water pool. It is not a monument. It is an architectural design representing the Berlin Wall which used to be nearby. Even though angled you can walk up to the top of the structure.

This is situated along the street (Invalidenstraße) and next to the Naturkundemuseum.

Berlin Sculpture One

Berlin Sculpture

I just like the image!

Berlin Random One

Berlin Random One

Berlin Random Two

Berlin Random Two

Berlin Random Three

Berlin Random Three

One: The new three billion euro train station.
Two: A Community Centre, very busy and well used>
Three: An aviary in the City Centre.

Can the little Pentax MV and the 40mm Pancake be a worthy travelling companion?

One thing is for sure – You do not need too much money to be an analogue photographer.

See You Soon

Jon talks Archeology 

Jon talks Archeology

jon digging

Jon digging

Today Jon talks about his experiences on this year’s Nottingham Castle dig. This podcast runs for around ten minutes and includes reference to King James the First’s father (curious? listen on!).

Listen Here

35mm Pentax – Humble MV?

35mm Pentax – Humble MV?

I’m spending some time in Berlin next week (August 2018). I intend to be a tourist/traveller. Who cares about the tourist identity? Apparently many do so, there is some difference between being a tourist and being a traveller:

Apparently, the traveller is more empathetic with her surroundings: She chooses public transport, prefers to speak the local tongue, enjoys being lost, buys food from small shops, drinks beer not expensive vino.

The tourist is more of a taker: He goes on organised sightseeing trips, uses a translator app, does not stray far from the beaten track, samples overpriced cafes.

The traveller is liked by the natives, and the tourist is a necessary evil. 

Some suggest a tourist/traveller with professional photo gear makes the locals wary. This is a valid idea. My feeling is that looking like a tourist actually opens the possibilities for unique photo opportunities. Being understated is an advantage when taking images, especially if one wants to take a photo of a crazy guy dressed as a transvestite gorilla. So, next week, I’m going to look like a tourist and think like a traveller. I’ll have a camera swinging around my neck all week.

I am a “Touraller” a cross between tourist and traveller.

I wonder what film camera to chose, and decide the little Pentax MV and 40mm f2.8 SMC-M lens will fit the ‘unassuming’ image I wish to portray. Normally, I’d travel with a Pentax SV, 50mm f1.4, and 28mm Takumar. However, I’m hoping to demonstrate how humble equipment can produce solid and impactful imagery. So the MV and Pancake win the competition.

The combined cost of the MV and 40mm is sixty-five pounds, forty pounds being the price of the 40mm. I paid twenty-five pounds for the MV including a 50mm F2.0. Let us consider the camera and lens.

Pentax MV

Fully automatic exposure and manual focus. If the battery drains, you are restricted to a 1/100th of a second bailout. Enthusiasts scorn this little gem, and long may they continue to do so, their ignorance keeps the camera low in price. Because the fact is; the lens is 90% of the photographic deal. A Leica nut can argue until the sun sets his camera is superior, as well it could be: the fact is, the photographer composes the image, the camera holds the film which records his view of the world. Camera 10% – Lens 90% of the equation.

Am I comparing a twenty-five pound MV with a fifteen hundred pounds M7? Of course, I (am) not! Can the MV and 40mm produce fantastic images comparable to a two-grand Leica? No doubt about it! As we’ll see when I return from Berlin!

The Pentax is small (see the image of it sitting next to an iPhone plus). Once calibrated, its metering ability is excellent. The latitude of monochrome film is three stops on either side of the selected settings. The MV is easily able to accomplish exposures within this range. Aperture priority seems to be a good way for the auto-exposure camera to prioritise its exposure. The photographer sets the required aperture, and the camera’s metering selects the shutter speed. Wide aperture equates to fast shutter speed, small aperture gives longer exposure times. 

A three coloured light is visible when looking through the viewfinder. If the light is green, the shutter speed is fast enough for a handheld exposure. Yellow the shutter speed is below 1/30 of a second and great care is needed holding the camera during exposure, red, well take a chance! It may be primitive, but the system works. 

The composition is everything in photography. Why not let the camera look after the exposure? Understanding the lens and depth of focus is key to the composition. Reviewing images is the way to learn: the reviewing process demands the photographer asks: Is the picture in focus, have I cropped tight enough, is the image telling a story, is the image conveying information? The more the photographer asks the questions while reviewing her images, the better her creative subconscious composes images ‘at the time the exposure is made’.

40mm SMC-M Pancake Lens

This lens has a poor reputation, with various reviewers calling it ‘soft’, a term which means it resolves ‘unsharp’ images. The problem with this little lens is it is (for some) challenging to focus. From closest focus distance to infinity takes less than one-third of a turn of the focus ring. At the closest focus distance, three millimetres of movement either side of the sharp focus point and the probability is the image will look soft. Inevitably the inability of the photographer to focus the lens means its design limitation becomes the excuse for poor camera technique. The resulting unsharp images indicate the lens has an unfair reputation.

Reviewers also comment the 40mm produces low contrast imagery. Poor focus flattens the image, and many lenses have lower contrast at open apertures. Contrast is therefore considered as a pointer to the quality of the lens. The better it can resolve an image with clearly defined separation of shade, the higher the contrast. So, the more defined the micro-contrast, which is in effect the line or separation point between the two shades, the better the image.

As we close the aperture on most lenses, sharpness and contrast increases. My preference is for open apertures of f1.4 to f4.0 because I prefer to isolate the subject in the recorded image. I will be documenting aspects of a City, so a little leeway is needed the choice is for an aperture of f4.0 to f8.0, the reasons for this will be put forward in the next article when we review the pictures taken over the next week.

Although, while considering contrast one should also consider film choice, and, for black and white photography the developer, time and temperature combination. These factors affect the contrast aspect of the negative. As does the grade of paper selected during printing. Never underestimate the importance of consistent technique. A photographer who uses, one film, one developer and learns to be consistent can produce bright images time after time. 

Many photographers disagree: their argument is different film/developer combinations offer great compositional opportunities, and there is no disputing the evidence. A counter-argument is; learn every aspect of one film and THEN add another to the photographic arsenal. 

My trio of films is PanF in Rodinal (my favourite combination), followed by FP4plus developed in Rodinal, and finally, HP5plus developed in ID11. Do not think I’m unable to use the right combination for differing situations. There is immense pleasure in printing an image where a fast film is pushed to the limit. Although, most digital cameras can record a black cat in a coal bunker better than any traditional film. So why bother wasting expensive film when the pixel is the celebrity guest at theatres and concerts?

The 40mm focal length is associated with the same field of view as the human eyes. My compositions attempt to record ‘your’ world from ‘my’ intimate perspective. Tight and compressed imagery, combined with dramatic shadows and contrast is the way I’ll photograph Berlin. This is an insight into the way I live my life, can you reflect on your life within your imagery?

Buying Cameras, Lenses and Film:

With continuous searching, bargains are still to be found. The purchase price of £40:00 for my copy of the lens is lower than the £100:00 most sellers ask. One Japanese seller is asking nearly £280:00 plus postage for a 40mm Pancake: Yes, these small compact lenses have a genre: “pancake”. Remember, where one man leads others to follow, the lens is sure to increase in value. And, as many of us know, once someone pays a high price for an item, it will go from mediocre performer to stellar diamond.  

Pentax MV Compact SLR

Pentax MV Compact SLR

At present (2018) enthusiasm for analogue photography is growing: the side effect of this is increasing costs of equipment. Film photographers must begin to accept ‘35mm equipment will continue to rise in value’. Because, apart from a four thousand pound Leica film camera, no others are in production. As the price of available cameras rises, fewer people will feel inclined to try the medium. In the worse case, this suggests, in the long term, analogue photography will decline.

Once the decline happens: It is possible many small film producers cease production. I know this is a contentious statement, but I would guide any photographer to buy only the products of well-established brands. For my part loyalty to Ilford products is a contribution to a stable and established company and therefore, dedication to them will keep film alive. 

Would the photographer rather have one rock solid producer with a long-term future, than ten small and fragile companies struggling to survive? The difficulty with small producers is we fall in love with a film, and it goes out of production, and in the end, you have to return to the established brands. They are like love affairs, they leave nothing but heartbreak. For example Film producers Adox and Foma have see-sawed production and tethered on the precipice of closure for decades. Yes, they are enjoying a well-deserved harvest for the moment, the question is for how long? 

We can discover Zen in photography. Waking up each morning accepting I know nothing, and there is everything to learn: is my Zen. My sincere belief is we can better our life journey by viewing the world with open eyes and an open-minded attitude. Photography encourages us to do this, with one proviso: the images we record should represent the world and environment on a personal level. By allowing people into one’s world, we demonstrate, truth, integrity and creativity.

Stay focussed – Stay sharp – Creativity is the Future.

Composition and f-stops with the Pentax

Images recorded with Ilford Film Pan F developed in Rodinal
Camera Pentax S1a – Lens 50mm f2.0 Takumar

Film photography encourages one to think. Think about composition, exposure and the different ways of producing the image.

People become concerned about the aperture/shutter relationship. My feeling is that the area of critical focus can be isolated using a wider aperture (lower numbers on aperture ring). And isolated subjects hold more interest than a ‘busy’ mosaic composition. However, we should remember that to achieve the isolation effect we must consider the lens aperture selected and the relevance of the distance between lens and subject. 

The wide aperture gives less depth of focus (also called depth in field) – small aperture greater depth of focus. The closer we are to the subject, the less the depth (or zone) of focus. The following images and example should explain this important aspect of composition.

The image of Liz was taken about a foot away from the lens. The aperture is F4.0. The background is entirely out of focus and Liz is isolated. The depth of focus (depth of field) is minimal, I focussed on her eyelashes, and you can see her glasses are slightly blurred. 

Liz - f4.0 -1/250th second

Liz – f4.0 -1/250th second

With the lens still at F4.0, the next image is recorded with the scooter six or seven feet away from the lens. Look carefully at a depth of focus. The scooter with the basket is still in focus, although the third one is blurred. 

Scooter f4.0 - 1/250 second

Scooter f4.0 – 1/250 second

During the years as a professional photographer, I came to understand the client required sharp images which told a story. In other words, an image taken for informational purposes needs to be razor sharp and the image recorded with accuracy. To achieve this for architecture and industrial photographic records greater depth of focus is required. For portraits, dreamy imagery works well, although, sharp eye/eyes are essential; generally longer focal length lens and wide aperture fulfil this need.

Today. I record images for pleasure, and the pressure is not on to fulfil the client’s needs. Therefore, I travel light, one camera, 28mm, 50mm lenses, lens hoods and filters and light meter. I do not carry a tripod under any circumstances.

It is no coincidence the tripod is used for 90 per cent of all professional imagery. Camera shake is the main reason for supposed out of focus images. Therefore, for handheld work: the preference is to use a wide aperture and fast shutter speeds. Careful attention must be made to focusing on technique. Remember, you focus on the image, and the camera must be held still. If the camera is focussed and then moved forward or backward (moving off the focal plane of the film) even by an inch before the release of the shutter, the recorded image will be out of focus.

Try this when taking an exposure:

Hold the camera to the eye, focus, gently (as gentle as possible) press the shutter: Do not move the camera until the mirror has returned and the exposure is complete. Also, keep your viewing eye open during the exposure. Practice this with an empty camera: I can say without a doubt your images will improve using this technique.

The buggy picture is also taken at F4.0. The shutter speed is 1/125th of a second. I sat on the ground to take the image. Focussing on the cam belt guard gave sufficient depth of focus to the image. Remember, when making an exposure reading with monochrome film, expose for the shadows. (I’ll write about this in another article).

Buggy f4.0 - 1/125 second

Buggy f4.0 – 1/125 second

Now, the point about this photograph is the composition is weak. The image should have been more compressed and tighter. Why did I choose not to do this? If I’d closed in on the subject, I would have lost the depth of focus. There is plenty of shapes and facets to the image, and this is what makes it interesting. As F4.0 gave a 1/125th shutter speed, I reckoned the looser composition gave more information than a close focused composition. If I’d have closed in to compress the image, the depth of focus, which provides better detail of the engine parts would be lost. If I had a tripod, I would have exposed at F8.0 1/30th of a second and compressed the image.

Cropped Buggy

Cropped Buggy

I prefer not crop images: however, to prove the point here is the after ‘cropping’ picture. You are reminded: I knew, the image would be cropped at the time of recording the image, for the reason already stated. There was no way I would chance F8.0 at 1/30th of a second, the probability of camera shake would have rendered the negative as useless. 

Even in the U.K, we can use slow film handheld if the choice is to learn to focus and use wide apertures. Isolating the subject is a powerful compositional tool. Learning the various techniques of wet photography is not difficult. And once learned, the photographer can centre of on the most critical aspect of imagery: composition.

Film photography is the best way to learn about composition, because, the photographer has to think. Digital photography allows for immense leeway and adjustment after the images are taken. To be at its best, wet photography demands proper technique. Learn good exposure skills and dare to use wider apertures and magic will happen.

The 35mm photographer is guided not to crop the images in the darkroom or after scanning, in the early stages of learning the art. The more often the creative mind is coaxed to consider composition in the viewfinder, the better the images become. My darkroom print size is 6X4 or 6X9 inch; this allows for small but careful ‘crops’ for one’s final compositions. I see no point in making huge prints from 35mm. If I wish to make a 16X20 inch print, medium format is chosen. 

A final thought:

Try to free yourself from, test reports and internet experts. Photography can be Zen-like and encourage great calm. A student asked me what my favourite camera and lens was. My answer was ‘ten rolls of film’. The images used in this article were taken using a camera and lens purchased from eBay for £30:00 including postage. Not only this, the pictures you see are scans, a darkroom print will provide three times the resolution seen in this article.

Enjoy your photography – Keep it simple and stay focused

Let Down

Let Down

Some time ago a colleague emailed to inform he was unable to attend an event. (I’ll call him Joe). He was ill and was sure I’d understand. He was a man I liked, he seems to tick the right boxes. Big smile. Big heart, kind and generous. There was no doubting his integrity. So, I accepted his reason not to attend the event.

During a conversation with another colleague, I was informed that Joe had enjoyed a busy day at another event. ‘That was the same weekend as our event’ I commented. ‘Yes, Ian no doubt he was there, I spoke to him’.

My heart sank: We offered nothing but respect and encouragement to Joe. Liz and I had praised his goods and spoken to our own customers about the quality and usefulness of the products. I respected him, there seemed every reason to trust and help him with his business.

I am too old to be angry or surprised by people not fulfilling obligations. We have all at some time let people down, all made poor excuses. Who am I to judge? Those without sin, cast the first stone. And yet, I think back to the last time I had lied to excuse myself from a situation or obligation. Do you know? I believed the last time was almost a decade ago. 

The feeling of disappointment in Joe is total. There is also an uncomfortable feeling that my misjudgement may affect decisions and choices, where strangers are involved. If my assessment of another person is this far out, there is a need to take extra care in the future.

Trust is hard won and quickly and permanently lost. A mutual trust could be likened to a credit score. Once damaged, the interest rate climbs, even worse, a friend asks ‘what do you think of Joe?’ The answer ‘he deceived me’. Another domino falls in the chain reaction of falling reputation.

Once the deception is made, the game is over. Of course, Joe has done much damage to himself. To my mind, you must fulfil an obligation, no matter what the cost. And if there are reasons to break a contract, one must accept, the truth must always be the reason for the breach.

‘Ian, I am exhibiting with another organiser’ – That was Joe’s truth. And do you know? I would have respected Joes honesty. I would not have liked the fact, I would have accepted it and moved on. My attitude is to forgive and look to the future, I would have done my utmost to make my organisation more accessible to Joe. 

My sadness is for Joe. He has let himself down, he placed money before reputation. Believe me, when I write a good reputation can never be made with cash. Good standing is the seed of success and wealth. People talk about a humans reputation, it is like a shining light which opens the gates to the gardens of happiness. 

This essay is a cathartic exercise. A release, a reminder to myself, never to let people down. There is no concern for Joe’s deceit, he is another memory, another lesson. 

I wish him well, he’ll never read this essay.

The line is drawn: I do not need Joe in my world.

The Piper Calls The Tune

The Piper Calls The Tune

Jon – Talks – Annesley Ghost

Jon Sharpe talks about a spooky encounter in Annesley Old Church.
Here is the ghost:

John Annesley

James Annesley

Toward the end of the podcast I ask John about Lord Byron’s connection to Annesley Hall she was:

Mary Ann Chaworth

Mary Ann Chaworth



Menace? Malice? Ignorance?

Nottingham City Transport has introduced a new range of Scania gas-powered buses on many of their routes. The eco-friendly monsters represent another stage in the effort to clean up the city.

Watch it!

Watch it!

Buses evolve – passengers do not.

I travel the 36 route most days; listening to the odd sleazy conversation or just reading my book. Books are a good companion, I can peep over the top of the page to ‘spy’ on the bus-scape. If solitude is required, music isolates, plug in the ear-buds and listen to favourite tunes or podcasts.

Some feel they should entertain their fellow travellers.

Up goes the volume, the hip-hop intrusion is a selfish act, abusive and ignorant. The sound pollution triggers agitation, it is easy to see passengers are unhappy with the intrusion. I read my book, and watch the passengers shift in their seats: I have viewed this phenomenon many times, accompanying the music awareness, passengers become uneasy in their seats.

There is another consideration, high volume music is known to damage hearing. I’m sure the bus boy menace is aware of the risk. He has the attitude of a smoker, aware of lung cancer, or the drug taker, aware of addiction. A humans folly, a belief in immunity to the consequences of adverse action. 

The fate is worse than silence, bussing and crackles accompany damaged hearing. Persistent mental torture, which drives the victim near to insanity during the early hours of a still morning. Excessive and continuous sound results in tinnitus, this horror will agitate and frustrate, as inevitable as the sun is hidden behind clouds. The spiritual would comment ‘Karma’.

Should I take pleasure from and be content from the knowledge the self-abuser will be punished? Is this a ‘kind’ statement? No, it is cruel, vindictive, without compassion. Bad vibes man, bad Karma? Yes, it signifies pleasure in revenge, malicious intent, the police state, unjust law.

I am concerned the self-abuser is causing himself harm’. Yes, that reads with more compassion. Your opinion of me is now changed for the better, forget the sentiments of earlier paragraphs: revealing the free-flowing words arising from the personal unconscious mind which knows only one’s truth.

Bus D.J’s are pathetic, the statement is: ‘look at me, I’ll infiltrate your life, make my mark, I’m determined you’ll remember my impression’. My reply is: The emptiest vessels make the most sound. Ironically, the music which ruins the environment of the innocent is damaging the rioter. The unwelcome sound is destructive and at the same time self-destructive. 

Why? I sense the agitator is within an act of rebellion which rewards with a twisted smugness, a sick idea that disturbing the status quo is empowering. In truth, the action generates a contempt or even hatred, and the victim’s emotion has a vibe, and the vibe surrounds the agitators being. In time their aggressive nature becomes more vindictive, and rebelliousness contributes to ultimate ruination. Further, self-abuse compounds the situation, alcohol, drugs, violence, lessen the chance of being presented with opportunities which can advantage a life journey.

They are subject to control. Control? Of course, if a human is capable of self-destruction, he is weak. An individual without concern for wellness and health cannot have cared for any other aspect of their life. Weakness resides in their spirit and soul, their only claims to identity are vandalism, antisocial behaviour, no respect for fellow man. They are weak and take the accessible path, one without intelligence, wisdom and understanding.

They believe the rhetoric of the ignorant: Hip-hop singer celebrates the death of a police officer. Racism is acceptable. The establishment is the cause of poverty. Society owes the deprived a living. It’s ok to steal, lie and deceive.

Or maybe, the reality is, they are already deaf!

Written in twenty minutes – Sorry Grammar Nazi’s – it’s the nature of the style.

Lucky For Some

No Fool

No Fool

A lady at the store comments ‘there is no such thing as luck’.
‘There is no such thing as ghosts, but we know what they are’.
This is my stock answer to the ‘luck’ conundrum.

I’m wondering if those who do not believe in luck are happy? Agreed, it is not a well-structured question, because, there will be many who dismiss luck and live a sublime life. The essay is written because I’ve encountered a few people over the last month who are ‘down on their luck’. I’m asking does unhappiness influence good or bad fortune? Even this question impinges on the word luck. Is there a difference between good luck or good fortune? Probably not, although the intellectual thinker may accept people are fortunate, rather than just lucky.

A counter-argument would be:
‘If one is going through a period of bad-fortune, then it is possible the unfortunate will also be unhappy’.
From my perspective, I can be happy even if life is not running in a straight path. Accepted, this emotional strength requires nurturing, although I’m convinced most people could train their minds to this attitude. Another aspect is a ‘happy outlook’ ensures issues, worries and difficulties are more easily overcome.

Beware of miserable and negative people:
‘If only there could be a little luck in my life’.
Or cynical sarcasm could be:
‘You’ll be lucky’.
When their negative attitude is questioned, they take offence and defend their opinion.

It is possible a miserable friend has scuppered many an entrepreneur or innovation. Negative and unhappy people draw others into their own despairs and torture. ‘Play safe’ is restrictive advice. ‘I wouldn’t do that’ is an opinion, not a directive.

Happy and positive friends encourage:
‘‘Take a chance, go for it!’ If we look back at our true friends, we will discover them to be supportive and forgiving. Maybe even ‘happy go lucky’ or even chancers. Chancers? Yes, there is a suspicion taking chances are associated with luck.

Over the last few months, the word ‘vibe’ is appearing as I type. Luck and ‘vibe’ are associates. The next time someone mentions how lucky they are I’m going to say ‘That’s down to lucky vibes man’. Maybe there is something in the idea? Lucky vibe, yes, it’s a good and happy thought. As I think about the idea of lucky vibes, I feel there is potential in researching the idea further.

Life is full of opportunity and decisive circumstance. But, to my mind, luck embellishes all the following words – education, communication, possibilities, connections, chance meeting, friendship, relationships. Do we make our luck, or does fortune smile on happiness?

Happiness, open-mindedness, and positive thought must be associated with or seeds of luck. I searched my memory to find the lucky people I’ve encountered. Within a few minutes a name came into my head, then another and soon there was a list. The conclusion is lucky people are not uncommon.

I’m a fortunate man, my life should have become a disaster, it is full of many wealths, good friends, reasonable health, positive and prosperous future. Many of the people on my lucky friend list have these wealths.

Is a lotto win lucky?

Apparently not! The aftermath of millions of pounds in the pocket of a pauper can have disastrous outcomes. Is this accurate? I suspect not, it is easy to find examples to support the case for anything. I’d bet my lotto ticket, most winners are happy and enjoy their winnings. If I had a fifteen million pound lotto win, I would be guaranteed a happy life. And I’d be sure to make more than a few of my friends very happy. I cannot think of better presents than paying off their mortgages.

We have all listened to the ‘I don’t want the jackpot – I’d like enough to pay off the mortgage and have no bills’. The answer is; don’t bother with the lotto, it is pretty easy to be debt free, it just takes time and dedication. George S. Glason’s ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ explains how to be secure; it is a masterpiece. If you are in debt or money is a problem, George will save you, he changed my life.

I imagine George in Heaven surrounded by souls who he’d save during their lifetime. Perhaps the spirits look down on the living reading the book and know if the advice is heeded: security will follow.

There is a certainty:  to be free of the many aspects of debt: Financial – Moral – Emotional – Intellectual – Spiritual – leaves one’s conscience clear.

I suppose anyone who understands this will be lucky.

Fear – 10 Minute Essay

Death Mask

Death Mask

Fear is the restrictor. The limiter of evolution and progress. Years ago fear dominated my confidence, fear of losing, losing money, losing friends, losing fights.

Overcoming fear demands loss, it demands to lose, it expects failure. No one can win every time whatever the conflict. Accept, loss even though the right is on our side – is necessary to becoming fearless.

The winner expects to win and cannot accept even second place. Everyone fails in the end, the athlete’s body broken, industrialist outgunned by progress, aged actor damned by youthful beauty.

Once a man said ‘you’re either with me or agin me’. His threat meant nothing, and I was young and worry-free: I did not care: he feared my mindset. Later, I cost him fortunes with letters. You’ll never know why or how the significance of the quotes broke his will. He struck the match, lit the fire and fell in the ashes. Bravado turns to fear in the hours without sleep, and dreams without solutions.

I knew a man who fell onto a bonfire. He was old and rich and foolish. Fifteen pounds for a gardener to cut the hedges, sweep the leaves and set the pile of cuttings alight. He feared poverty, feared losing money. Three five pound notes were as nought to him, save the money, prove the point, demonstrate greed. He died four days after the fall, a beautiful autumn morning. The listing of his will in the Gazette: an estate of one-million-seven-hundred thousand. Fifteen pounds for a gardener and a fear of wasting money.

When we have nothing, there can be no fear of loss. Without possession there is freedom and freedom is worth more than money. To be within freedom is to be within real wealth. To my mind, the greedy have nothing other than fear. Material gain or accumulation signifies following or understanding a process. What is interesting to me, is understanding how to make wealth. There is no secret to real wealth; I’ll write of the secret: It is age: to accumulate great wealth you need to be without fear: the young have less doubt and take more risks; accumulation is more natural.

The paradox is the young have no fear of losing: so their wealth is soon gone. A few are well trained and disciplined, they become the substantially rich. By the way, inherited wealth is of no consequence. To have real value – money has to be earned: savings has to represent an exchange of life hours, endeavour, work, even harder work, and toil. And then the savings account represents one’s expired life hours.

Be careful, heed the lesson Albert learned too late. Understand savings have less value than life. As his flesh scorched on that Saturday morning, he realised the truth. Too late, foolish old man. We could wager he’d have spent more than fifteen pounds to be free of the pain during those last days. What fears did he experience as he lay awaiting the blessing of the final sleep? Who knows, who cares?

A broken man just asked me for seven pounds. You would not give him a penny. As the money is handed over Wes says ‘I’ll repay you’ – The probability is; he will repay his debt. He has no food, mental and physical illness are his identity. I’m not taking a chance; I am making a choice, there is no fear of losing the money. Sixty years old, still taking risks, without worry of losing, without fear.

I am free.

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