The bigger they are, the harder they fall.


Ferropolis, the steel town left to rust and remind us of our energy nemesis. Even with these monsters, the DDR couldn’t rip enough coal out the ground to meet its energy needs.

A great place for a rock concert or just to stare and wonder. Now we know that they were not just monsters in size, but also landscape vandals. However, the holes they left have filled with water and are wildlife habitats. The water-sport fans have to wait until the pits have been cleared of debris and the earth recovered.

Coal carrier
Control turret
Violent machines
View from below

Why do we ignore the facts about the Gulf Stream?


It doesn’t matter how much evidence is presented, no one in power accepts that the world is on fire.

Check the interactive version out by clicking the link.

I was stunned by the interactive version.

The picture shows a Gulf Stream as no one wants to see it. The heat should be transported from the south to north Atlantic and warm Europe. Without this process, the UK will have a Canadian climate. We are disturbing the natural convection currents, by melting cold fresh arctic ice, which dilutes the salt water. Therefore, it no longer sinks and cannot return as cold water to the Gulf. The south Atlantic water can only lose its heat to the atmosphere, exacerbating the the effect of hot air rising off the south Atlantic. The storms get fiercer and Europe cools.

More staggering is the complacency. The New York Times and Washington Post rightly gave acres of space to Hurricane Ida and its causes. Not one mention (that I could find) of the Gulf Stream breaking down. After New York flooded, the State Governor Kathy Hochul, made all the right noises about protecting life and property, but thinks the key is to change infrastructure, not address the root of the problem.

Not even a Hurricane with winds of over 200 km/h can knock heads together.

Information by Nicolai Vent

Our Personal Eco-Oasis


Cars queue to wreck our world.

We have all heard the song, A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square. I had heard that nightingales have now colonised Berlin, although in our square behind the splendid turn of the century front, I have rarely heard a nightingale. However, woodpeckers, flocks of sparrows and starlings, various tits and finches, crows, (including jackdaws) and at least one owl have made themselves at home in our 50m x 100m oblong.

They are helped by the fact that no predator has easy access – not even cats and foxes – and vital is the casual garden architecture adopted by the various condominiums which make up the oblong.

What do the birds live from? The owl has no problem finding rats – this is a big city and only after years of defence building can we keep them out our cellars. The sparrows and starlings manage to find enough seed material from the grass etc. and the woodpecker enjoys devastating the fat-balls put out for the tits and finches. Woody woodpecker usually gets through one in around half a minute. It’s quite spectacular.

The crows remain a mystery, but I assume they are casual visitors and find their food elsewhere – only dropping in for visits. There is plenty of pickings from the fast-food joints on the T-Damm. They also have the run of the green strips between the dual carriageway outside our house.

It’s probably not such a big contribution that we are making, but it shows that these animals are adapting and will use whatever is around, to survive. In my 1966 edition of the Observers Book of Birds, jackdaws were only to be found on cliffs in Scotland. I doubt that was ever true but –

knock yourselves out, homo sapiens. There are plenty out there waiting to take over from your folly.

And they will adapt better than we will.

What have Bojo and Andrew in common?


It’s easy. They just don’t get it! They both think half-baked excuses for appalling behaviour, will do. A laugh and a shrug will see things okay.

Well, in a week when there is a shortage of chickens, the chickens are coming home to roost. For Andy and Bojo it will be another inconvenience. For people without a job, at risk of losing the roof over their head, it’s not funny.

I made it back to Berlin, using packed trains and planes. Capitalism doesn’t work. The need to turn a buck means all covid sense of proportion goes out the window, but then I didn’t need to travel so I am part of the problem.

I tried to hoodwink the Einwanderungsamt into giving me right to permanently stay in Germany, but fell down at the hurdle – where do you wish to pay tax, sir? Of course, pre-brexit, no one gave a damn where I lived. Now I have to accept that my wife and children and grandson can live here permanently, but I can’t. Well done Brexit and the Johnson lie machine, which promised a deal.

But it is great to be back and I should not be moaning.

Thriving post-Brexit, without worries.

I thought I would never live to see the day Germany was reunited. It happened sooner than anyone expected. At that time I wondered if I would live to see the demise of the English Royal House. I doubted it. Now I am not so sure. Why would young people identify with a nonagenarian as a head of state? Why would they be interested in the foolhardiness of her septuagenarian son and his tasteless wife, as king and queen?

Let’s watch this space.

And why would working people vote for self-interested Tory politicians? That exercises me most. The young don’t seem so disposed to do so.

Berlin in Haikus


An author likes to have a project on the go, which isn’t always easy due to the vagaries of inspiration. In such circumstances I look back through some photos and choose one to write about. After all, the act of making a photograph is, in itself a mindful act.

I spotted this amazing woman, in Berlin, as a graffiti and thought, she has to be worth a book cover, so I sat down and wrote a novel about her. She seems a totally free spirit and so is her alter ego, Connie Grimshaw, the heroine of Goddesses. Look carefully and you will see graffiti-woman is holding an enormous knife although she doesn’t appear to be ready to use it in any violent way. Perhaps she is mocking me, looking at her. Who is in the zoo here? She, or is it me and she is the observer?

The heroines of my novels enjoy payback moments, but are not in any way haters of men, just haters of bad men. Connie discovers unconstrained sex in my story, which I believe is something we all dream of achieving whilst knowing, it isn’t going to happen.

I have recycled graffiti-woman in my forthcoming book on public artworks in Berlin. I photograph and then complete my study the work by writing a Haiku. I stick to the traditional form of 5:7:5 syllables per line, with a twist to the last line, but accept this is unnecessary in our modern days of rejecting strict form.

I intend to share pictures and their haiku with the reader and encourage them to come up with their own, using my picture or one of their own.

So, this what I think of that amazing woman, looking down at me from a railway bridge is thinking. She has achieved Connie’s abandonment to her libido and I give graffiti-woman Connie’s power. That leaves me the poor sucker dreaming of their abandonment and so envious of these two free spirits.

Easy-Vamp views us,
Relics from the uptight zoo,
Through impassive eyes.

I had a go at a German version.

Leichtes Mädchen guckt
Verstört wir, die verklemmten
Zoobewohner an.

Since then, the unknown artist has added another, so more work for me to do.

Being mindful without mysticism


The Microsoft Bing definition or Mindfulness.

  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something: “their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

How I apply it to writing literature.

  • I take a story and investigate as many facets as possible.
  • In order not to become long-winded, I have learned to pair my language down to the minimum. No adverbs, few adjectives but super action.

Try it out with my 1st person romantic comedy thriller, Someone Tell Me What Is Going On. My heroes and heroines accept feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, or suffer the consequences.

Get the mindfulness habit.

Free pages at Amazon. Search for Clive La Pensée

Writing Mindfully


Writing expressionist novels leads me inevitably to write mindful literature. The technique of exaggerating the observed in order to explore its forces, forces me to create situations in which every human emotion is examined. This includes the fears and loves of the reader.

The chapter in The Last Stop where Jack and Maria dispose of the body, has caused many to lay the novel to one side. It was simply too exciting, too erotic and too demanding. Others found it the funniest thing they have ever read. That’s mindful writing. I explore everything there is to explore, even when it hurts beyond what one can stand.

The ten pages about Felicity’s adultery is a study of human weakness, but still leaves her a heroine because we understand and love her for her fallibility. I’ve been told it is a tour de force and probably the best thing I have written.

This is Mindfulness in Modern Literature.

Give the free pages a try. Put Clive La Pensee into your Amazon search and stop at The Last Stop. See if you can stand the Sturm und Drang of a Berlin novel about Mindful Crime.

Mindfulness – Get a life, Fred!


The portrait below is of Mary Elwell and was executed by her husband, Fred. It reveals a wistful wife, thinking thoughts Fred must have wished he hadn’t captured. This time it’s not me being mindful, but Mary!

Socialist Art. Really?


Mindfulness not only comes in useful to determine what we thought at the moment, but eighty words might reveal what the model was thinking. Who knows?

Damned artists! I sit here, in the altogether, pretending to be a wronged goddess. Thank goodness he agreed to put in the animal parts, later. The smell was something awful. And apparently, some prat will sit at my left foot, playing the lyre, all in the name of socialist art. How does that work?

He pays by the hour, and it covers my bills for the week. That just about sums it up.

Exhibition of DDR art. Gallery Barbarini -Potsdam.

Adding Mindfulness


Get mindful. Appreciate things around you more by writing 100 words about your first impression.

That hat, tilted jauntily forward, to say, ‘I’m something special.’
But only because of the silver spoon you were born with, tucked safely now between those carefully rouged, but too severe for comfort, lips.
And those hands, pushing the book’s wisdom away with their dismissive stance, but eyes still searching for some meaning to the day.
Your children will pay for your ambition. You will suffer from self-pity and too much cake, because that is the destiny of your tribe.

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