Author: 1642again

The Unseen Path – Part Six

1642again, Going Postal

The man known as Mark had been watching her intently, clearly impatient at Iltud’s diffidence. He broke in. “You’re not going mad, and neither are we, as you will see when well enough. Last night did your vehicle lose its electrics, also your other devices? Did you see what you thought were the Northern Lights? Did you feel a crackling in the air, static electricity like you’ve never felt before? I can see from your face that you did. That’s just what happens when someone crosses the barrier. Everything Iltud here has told you is true, and plenty more besides, like no electronic devices work here. Don’t ask me why, I’m not a scientist. There are no cars, nor lights other than oil lamps and candles, no telephones or radios, or any such like, not even thunder or lightning. No one on the outside knows we’re here and that’s the way we like it to keep it, and why, once you find us, you’ve really joined us whether you wish it or not.”
She goggled at him, as he continued. “Did you see what you thought was hunting you? We call them the Guardians, but it was just as well we had business in the area and found you.”
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The Unseen Path – Part Five

1642again, Going Postal


Alan Dare watched Mohammed Badr wake slowly from his drugged stupor; the man must be dying of thirst, he thought. They were in a large barn, bare and devoid of content other than some animal stalls, all occupied except for the one in which Badr was bound and chained. A door was ajar, letting in some of the limp early morning light, joining that which filtered through the dirty high-level windows.
Alan knew the floor was freezing, softened only by animal litter, but could read the prisoner’s face sufficiently to see that the man’s feelings were colder than his body as he realised that he was surrounded by three men, all masked and in grey overalls. One, Art, would seem a virtual giant, another, Georgy, almost Arabic in appearance from the look of the uncovered patch around his eyes, but clearly no brother from their expression, and Alan himself, blondish haired.
“Good, you’ve re-joined us. You must have been tired; you were out for almost twenty-four hours. Let me tell you how it’s going to be. You will tell us all we want to know, every last detail without hesitation, just the truth. If you don’t, you will not survive the consequences. Clear?”
Art removed the gag in Badr’s mouth.
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The Unseen Path – Part Four

1642again, Going Postal

There was a call on one of his secure pay-as-you-go phones. “Abdul, it’s Suleiman here. Amallifely’s been martyred, shot outside his house this morning. The police are all over it and have been searching the house and asking lots of questions of everyone.”
“Then why are you calling me on this number, it may have been compromised? Meet me in forty minutes at point B.”
The younger man was panicking he realised, his inexperience showing through. Better contact his leader, Badr, to confer. They might have to accelerate or abort their mission, but it wasn’t his decision. One more call with this phone then dump it. No answer. Thirty, sixty, ninety minutes later, still no answer. Concerns began to rise. Alternative numbers not answering either. Better go around – a risk he knew – give it twenty-four hours then. Low key for the rest of the day other than meet Abdul and the others; they can ask questions of local sympathisers to try to fill in the gaps.
He turned on the local news. There had been a drugs related murder according to police, in Amallifely’s street. He was really worried now; it was too much of a coincidence. Something had gone seriously wrong and his leader had disappeared. Yes, too much of a coincidence, Badr had all the contacts outside their cell; if he were taken they could all be rolled up. Amallifely, Badr’s deputy, would have known what to do. They were taught to be flexible, self-sufficient and unpredictable. They might not have very long so they had to move fast. Allah would steer them and provide. Devotion, dedication could overcome all, even in this hostile infidel land. As next in authority now, unless Badr re-emerged, it was his call. Strike now before it was too late, even if not fully prepared? The panic, the fear began to recede as he came to his decision. It would be tomorrow evening at the softer alternate target then; now to tell the rest of the team.

Continue reading “The Unseen Path – Part Four”


The Unseen Path – Part Three

1642again, Going Postal

‘Damn Sally, why did she have to go so distant to him now?’  Andy Bowson thought to himself as he sat waiting outside the meeting room in West Midlands Constabulary headquarters later that day.  ‘She didn’t play this hard to get when we were going out, if only she hadn’t rediscovered God.’  As soon as he thought it, he chided himself, but he had sent eight text messages over the last few days and had only a single monosyllabic response to the first.
He was broken from his reverie by the meeting room door opening.  George Edward rose beside him and ran his fingers through his ill-kempt hair.  Both men looked a mess after twenty-four hours without a break, but Bowson knew that this was the least of their problems right now.  The Chief Constable’s assistant beckoned towards them somewhat sympathetically, “You can both go in now gentlemen.”
Bowson led the way in and Edward followed closing the door softy behind them.
“Please take a seat, gentlemen.  Would you like tea or coffee?  You’ve had quite a night and day of it I understand.”

Some Musings on the Natures of God and Man

1642again, Going Postal
The Creation of Adam is a fresco painting by Michelangelo, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, painted c. 1508–1512

Well its 4.30 am on a December Tuesday morning and latent musings on the most profound questions of all have flooded my little grey cells into sudden wakefulness, and the ever-lasting wrestling match between the edges of reason and faith that are my life holds me in its restless grip once more.

Three decades ago, my doctoral supervisor in a tutorial said something that was to change my life and which still prompts these thoughts so many long years later, something that shredded my shallow angry atheism.

A confirmed agnostic, he argued that his was the only rational position since it was impossible to disprove the existence, or otherwise, of a transcendent creator God outside time and space.  He went further and argued that atheism was the least rational of all three positions as there is much more circumstantial evidence for the existence of God than for his non-existence (testimonial witness evidence, the fact that all human societies have some belief in a form of divinity).  An argument I still find as compelling today as thirty years ago, albeit I now believe that the testimonial and other circumstantial evidence is of sufficiently high quality to compel faith, if not certainty, in the existence of such a God.  Indeed, the developing understanding of DNA was enough to force Professor Anthony Flew, the Dawkins of the philosophical world for half a century, to abandon his hard-line atheism of half a century and to embrace theism.

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The Unseen Path – Part Two

1642again, Going Postal

Mohammed Badr’s morning run proceeded as usual as he headed out of the city up into the hills on the edge of town; this was going to be a long one, twenty miles at least, as he built up his training schedule. He would visit the gym later for martial arts class, and then maybe some resistance training. The sirens were particularly busy today, the kaffirs’ stooges inflicting harassment on some poor victims. No matter, his record was clean, and he had been careful, and was headed away from the gathering commotion which seemed to be concentrated some way away. He had time to clear his head and focus on their mission.
He was in the small country lanes now, climbing a narrow hilly section passing just the odd farm driveway or cottage. There was rarely any traffic to contend with at this time of the morning up here, but he could hear an engine in the distance and moved closer to the wall in anticipation.
A Land Rover came around the bend towards him, picking up speed as it descended the hill, it was getting hellishly close to him, leaving him with nowhere to go…

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The Unseen Path – Part One

1642again, Going Postal

It Begins

The man about to die pulled the green framed glass door shut and glanced furtively up and down the street before locking the door and placing the key in his jacket pocket.
His would-be assassin stretched his right index finger to relieve tension and took a slow deep breath to reduce his heart rate before cradling the rifle stock firmly against his shoulder.  Using the open rear window of the van, his mobile hide for this hunt, to frame his target, he carefully sighted on his intended victim through the sniper scope attached to his weapon.  The light remained weak in the overcast early morning conditions and he flicked on the scope’s target illuminator.  It was taking too long for the target to turn around to face the street so that he could get a final identification, but long enough for the tension to build again though, for his heart rate to rise and his palms to feel clammy, long enough for the doubts to begin anew.  He knew that killing his first human quarry, even a man such as this, put him on the far side of something, but the far side of what: a moral or spiritual chasm with only Hell for an escape?  Whatever it was, he only knew there could be no way back once the trigger had been squeezed.

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Twelve Drinks of Christmas

Most of a working career in the drinks industry has helped me learn a little about good wines, beer and spirits, largely because of the endless patience of others who really know about these things, and because I have been singly blessed with opportunities to see things and taste drinks that only a tiny few do. I’m unusual because my career had encompassed brewing, spirits, cider and wine in high quality companies, whereas the vast majority of people within these sectors rarely see more than a couple.

So, I was asked to write an article about what I would recommend drinking over Christmas. A dangerous request because I am unrepentantly biased, and seldom drink products from outside the circles in which I have worked. I also have access to drinks that few will ever be fortunate to see, let alone taste, albeit there are some still inaccessible to me. This isn’t a boast, it’s just the way things are, particularly at the very top of the wine industry with some wines being made in the terms of a few cases per year.

But, anyway, I have chosen twelve drinks (oops- a few more, let’s say a brewer’s dozen). An entirely subjective choice, things encompassing all budgets and being fairly accessible, some more so than others. No snobbery or exclusiveness is involved. Most can be sourced from a brewery close to my heart, but not all. Neither have I recommended minority taste drinks nor things I do not drink, such as whisky, about which I claim no knowledge. I defer to more learned councils on here about such things. But all I will be drinking over the festive period, and as we all do, will be ensuring that I open the wallet just a little more than for other occasions in the year.

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Some Thoughts about Jonah

1642again, Going Postal
Jonah and the Whale (1621) by Pieter Lastman

So, if someone mentions the Prophet Jonah, what will most people say? The story of the whale of course and that’s about it. Four short chapters of a book in the Old Testament about a minor prophet of the ancient Hebrews, and an impossible tale of a man surviving three days in the belly of a whale.

So, other than that myth, Jonah’s story has no significance, right? Wrong. In some ways, because of its brevity, Jonah’s obscurity, and the seeming impossibility of the whale, its real importance has been generally missed, but I would argue that it’s actually essential to the central narrative of the Bible, its threaded central purpose, and that it illustrates in miniature exactly what it’s all about. And it’s an important sign-post to what came later.

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Postcard from the Algarve, No 2

1642again, Going Postal

When Swiss Bob told me that I had won a prize of a week in JustaBritAbroard’s rather nice apartment in the Algarve for a week by dint of my obscure scribblings, he neglected to inform me that it was a working holiday.

As you can see from the photo (your Lord Protector is top right and his eldest top left), the Protectoral family have been indentured for the week to demolish an old apartment block near the sea. Having been given pneumatic drills and 30 seconds ’instruction, we have to break up the concrete construction bit by bit from the top. We are extremely lucky not to be offered hard hats, safety lines or ear defenders, but must balance on the walls we are demolishing. I was however grateful to be given a high visibility jacket which I’m sure will come in handy when plummeting four stories to earth. At least they didn’t force me to wear my full dress armour in the 28 degree heat for the full 12 hour shift.

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