Olympic Games

Monk in exile with dust mask, Boudha, Nepal.

I do not normally mention politics or sports on this site, not really my territory. Today close to Christmas and the start of a new year in which the summer Olympics will take place I want to make an exception.

Christmas is a festival associated with peace and the new year with hope for a better future. Who does not want either of those? Some people want it not only for one holiday or festival, they want it for generations to come. Will all those who watch, attend and participate in the upcoming Olympics in China remember? Can we remain silent when we know a bully is at work, destructing the soul of a nation? How can we make a difference?

I heard His Holiness The Dalai Lama respond to the question if he would be in favour for a boycott of any kind against China. His response was that he did not want to hurt the Chinese people. Naming an issue and making it known to those who offend against fellow humans can be a powerful tool of transformation without violence or causing hurt in any way.

The Chinese are very sensitive to public opinion and support, or at least pretend to be so. Maybe it is an opening for bringing awareness to their attention and constructive dialogue.

May peace prevail on earth.

Clip 18: Highway

video
The latest video clip in the 30 Second Presence series.

Sung 'Khor-Tibetan Amulets


A short video featuring Salan Lama making traditional tibetan amulets.

In the Fast Lane

My landlord Ram giving me a ride into town.

Tihar (Diwali): Festival of Light



Festival of light
And
Of shadow
Of course
One cannot exist
Without the other
But who wants to celebrate shadow?
The dark side of the moon
The deep ocean
Our inner demons
The place where danger lurks

We are not encouraged
To engage
To explore
To confront shadow

It takes courage
Which, when taken
Can be most enlightening


Tihar festival in Nepal, also known as Diwali in India, is not only the festival of light but also the start of the Newari/Nepali New Year. Newars are the people inhabiting the Kathmandu valley.

Broken Boon in Need: Update 2



For the first time since Wednesday I saw Pasang smile. He also responded for the first time to my questions. His parents also looked a lot more relaxed. They must have finally realised that financial help was coming through. Pasang was released from hospital today. With that my involvement will end.

Last night I visited Swiss people who helped me with Teo’s text in German. It was quite late by the time I left. Public transport in the city finishes at around 9 pm. A bus did come my way. I waved, as you do here if you want to board a bus. It stopped but was empty of passengers. The driver and conductor were on their way home from work. That did not stop them to take me and drop me off where I needed to be, free of charge.

How is that for service, where in the (first) world would that happen? Little things like this make Nepal such a great place. Despite all the poverty and suffering human kindness prevails here. Even a 10- year armed conflict could not destroy that.

Film South Asia



From 11-14 October Film South Asia was held in Kathmandu. FSA is a documentary film festival that is held every second year. I had no idea what to expect, but I was really impressed with the festival. Screenings took place at Kumari cinema, a modern complex with to cinemas. The one complaint I had was that films were only screened once, which meant that you could only see half of the films on offer. I was impressed with the organisation. The catalogue, presentations, discussions etc. were in English, a real bonus. All films were in English or had English subtitled.

Below is a list of my 4 favorites in order of preference just in case you may come across an opportunity to see them:

Between the Lines (95 min),
India 2005, by Thomas Wartmann
Documentary about the Hijra community in Mumbai.

Eisenfresser (Iron Eaters), (82 min) ****
Bangladesh 2007, by Shaheen Dill-Riaz
Documentary about seasonal workers on gigantic shipwrecking yards.

Chaame Due! Tara Nabirsa! (Forgive! Forget Not!), (52 min)
Nepal 2007, by Pranay Limbu
Docudrama about a journalist detained for 15 months in an army barrack.

Living Goddess (96 min)
Nepal 2007, by Isabel Withaker
Documentary about the three Kumari's, living goddesses of Kathmandu Valley.

2000 Candles







Light and darkness, such a magic combination.
The stupa of Boudhanath, Nepal

Broken Bone in Need: UPDATE



The boy, Pasang has been operated. His family raised the first 4,000 rupees for the operation, a large enough deposit for the hospital to actually do the operation. I raised 4,000 rupees here in Nepal from people I know and the last 5,000 I raised in Holland through family and friends who have been most generous.



So thanks to all your help. This boy has been saved from becoming a crippled beggar for the rest of his life and the family no longer has to spend years in debt because of a simple but costly fall of a playing boy!




I have never felt so good to be able to help out. With so little such a dramatic difference was achieved in people’s life. I am beginning to get a glimpse of how Teo Baba must have felt. He dedicated most of his life to helping people in need in Nepal
(PS: Teo Baba was a Swiss guy whose story I am following at the moment, click on his name to see more information about him).

Broken Bone in Need:



Today I went for a walk in the back lanes of Boudhanath hoping to film women winnowing. I had barely turned off from the main road when there was some commotion ahead of me. As I approached the group of people a young man asked for help.

“What is the problem?” I asked. “This boy has a paralised arm”, he said. I took a closer look at the scruffy kid that was cornered by the crowd. People grabbed his arm to show me. He screamed. The filth on his face could not hide his agony. One look at his elbow was enough for me and my little medical knowledge to diagnose a badly broken bone near his elbow. The lower arm just dangled and the broken bone was almost poking through his bruised skin. Not a happy sight. The accident had happened 3 hours earlier…

I had to raise my voice to stop the people around him from touching him. They had no idea what was wrong with him and that their handling was causing more pain and could worsen the injury. I managed to explain what was wrong and urged them to take the boy immediately to a hospital.

Lack of money was the real problem it seemed, could I help? I only had little money on me, and I am reluctant to give money without knowing how sincere the need is. I offered to take the boy to a clinic and take it from there. His parents were identified, together we walked to the main road. They wanted to carry and hold the boy. Thank God they listened and let the boy walk himself, which caused him the least amount of pain. I have never seen such a tough kid, he looked distressed and dazed, but not a tear.

We got into a crowded shared taxi, the huge potholes in the road caused more agony for the kid, but there was no other option. I raised him onto my lap so he dangling arm would not hit the seat.

He was straight away looked at in the emergency room. X-rays confirmed what I feared. His bone was fully broken and displaced so badly that he will need an operation which will cost 13,000 rupees, about 150 euros/NZ$290 (4-6 months of salary). I paid for the x-rays and gave the boy some Reiki, hoping it would ease the swelling and thus the pain a little. He was given a half cast for the time being and kept in hospital for observation till the operation this Friday.

I often question the benefit of giving money to beggars or poor people, as this is only temporary relief, and does not much for sustained improvements. I do give my spare change to people with disabilities as there is no social welfare here. A little goes a long way. Education would go much further as this case of ignorance demonstrates.

Today I did give money as it was an emergency. I would have given more if I had it on me, but I didn’t. Anyway, I would like to check first with the doctor to see how much the family can help themselves and how much discount the hospital can afford. I intend to do that tomorrow.

If any one of you (in Holland or New Zealand) feel like helping out financially, let me know immediately. Feel free to pledge a contribution (by email at: marcel[dot]baaijens[at]gmail[dot]com). I will match it dollar for dollar. Once I know if it is really needed I will call on your pledge (money can be deposited into my New Zealand or Dutch bank account). I will keep you informed.


Healing Script part 1: Candle

Introduction:

This story took place in Syria, May 2007. It is a true story that, looking back, still amazes me. I expect this kind of healing to happen to others rather than myself.

Many people may find it difficult to accept my accounts of what happened, label them as unscientific and thus impossible. It definitely does not fit in the healing modality of western medicine. For others it will make sense.

I did see a western trained doctor for the fever I was experiencing before this story unfolded. His solution was to suppress the fever with medication, without investigating what the cause may be. I did not like that option and chose an alternative way, of being with the fevers and see what happens...

This story is about what happened when I checked in at an ancient monastery in the mountains of the Syrian desert, a place where I sought refuge from the heat, noise and pollution of Syrian cities.

What happened in this orthodox Syrian monastery was quite unorthodox. As a woman staying there said: "You never know what will happen here, people do not seem to be in control".
The story has been spread out over six individual posts, to aid a speedy uploading and downloading. Please read the six posts as one. Marcel.
----------------------------------------------------------

Healing Script part 1: Candle



I sat down in a dark corner at the back.
No one could see me, or my crappy mood.
Yet I, could see everybody.

It was supposed to be a silent meditation,
But people walked out, walked back in,
Rustled pages and talked,
Not whispered but talked!

It fueled my growing agitation,
Triggered earlier,
By someone questioning my reluctance to see a doctor,
And heal the persistent fevers with rest instead.
All I wanted was space and time,
As if I was home.

I’d hoped to gain inner peace,
But when the meditation was over I was so resentful,
So critical of everything and everyone around me…
…I became aware,
Sank deeper into the shadow,
To observe the battle in my mind.

Candles were lit for the mass that followed.
A monk disturbed those sitting in the aisles,
Herding them back to the central nave.
Thank God he let me be.
I was not in the mood to be an obedient sheep.

A well-meaning Soul placed a candle right in front of me.
"No!", I wanted to scream.
“I don’t want any light.
I want to bathe in shadow,
hide in darkness,
Feel sorry for myself,
Just be,
Be with my inner battle and raging fever".

But I remained mute.
I need not panic.
One candle was not bright enough to interfere with my darkness.

Healing Script part 2: Home

Mar Musa Monastery, Syria

Singing announced the start of mass.
It dislodged within me intense emotions from unknown times.
I felt sad, so sad,
So alone.With eyes closed,
I felt violent sobs hiccuping from the depth of my being.
As they rose their pain evaporated,
Before reaching my vocal cords.

With eyes closed,
I felt noxious scripts regurgitating from the past.
As they rose their poison neutralised,
Before reaching my mind.

This nomad was feeling sick,
Very sick.
Agh... homesick!

Every stone of this ancient monastery echoes Spiritual essence.
Its monks demonstrate inspiring commitment,
Mirroring the kind of ‘home-within’ I was seeking.

Healing Script part 3: Shadow

The tiny entrance to the fortress-like monastery of Mar Musa, Syria.

I wanted to belong,
To be part of it,
But could not find a way in.
I could not sing their exotic hymns.
Even if I did speak Arabic
I could not surrender.

My mind spewed critique instead:

Loathing the daily rituals and prayers,
Denying their soothing qualities;

Loathing the priest every time he said Allah, Dio or God,
Denying his noble intentions to engage visitors in their native tongues;

Loathing the sudden desert storm that burst open my cave room door,
Denying the awe it demanded from me;

Calling my internal sobs pathetic,
Denying their healing nature.

Mind was triumphant.
I believed it all and shriveled further into the shadow of myself.

From my dark corner I stared at the bright candle in front of me and agreed:
“Yes, you are right,
I am just a depressed bundle of self-pity.”
Mind took a break, celebrating victory.

Another voice seized the moment and took centre stage,
Reminding me that indeed I was wallowing in self-pity,
A useless emotion that would only keep me stuck,
In my script of self-righteousness;
That indeed I was losing the battle with my fierce inner critic.
“Do not drown”, it said.
“Swim!”
“HELP ! ! !”

A prayer I learned as a kid came to mind.
I could only say it in Dutch.
In all earnest I recited:
“Heer ik ben niet waardig dat Gij tot mij komt,
Maar spreek slechts een woord en ik zal gezond worden”

(Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed).

Out of desperation I repeated it two more times.
Funny how the religion that I abandoned a long time ago
Was now my only hope for salvation.

Healing Script part 4: Sweat Wine

Wine like everything has a shadow and light side, parish church, Syria

Bread and wine were coming round.
One is supposed to take a small sip.
Despite my dislike for wine I was ready to knock back the entire goblet .
For maybe it could make me see things in a different light,
Maybe it could change shadow.

I managed to get a good mouth full.
Enjoying every drop,
Swallowing little by little.
Then I choked and was forced to gulp down the rest.
Oh Damn!

The priest was his boisterous chatty self that night.
He tends to ask people personal questions during mass
Expecting answers for all to hear.
My sulky behaviour made me a potential target,
But the end of mass came to the rescue.
People left for the terrace where supper was being served.

I remained in the sacred space,
To be with myself, my raging fever,
Undisturbed, comforted by darkness.
Secretly I was hoping for an intervention by
A force more powerful than I,
That could pry open the slightest jar in my heart,
Unlocking compassion.
Compassion for self.

Healing Script part 5: Surrender

Religious statue, parish church, Syrian Desert.

The priest walked passed on his way out.
“How's your belly?” he asked loudly.
There was nothing wrong with my belly, but that didn't matter,
He knew I was unwell and he was looking for an opening line.
I accepted.
I gestured 'so-so' with my hands,
Accompanied by a 'so-so' facial expression.

He sat down for a chat.
I began to listen to someone else instead of my inner critic.
He had broken through my endless cycle of ego defenses.

“Do you have a family, the priest asked?”
Inner critic decided to put the priest to the test.
An ultimate test of acceptance,
To see if I could just be me
Here in this religious bastion,
Which I wanted to be ‘home’

“I don’t have a family, I am gay”, I said.
A sentence not said out loud in a Syrian orthodox monastery.
Anxiously I waited for a reply.
Could he accept,
Then inner critic would be defeated instantly
And forced to withdraw everything it said.
Could he not,
Then I would be forced to wander further
Searching for another home.
He did not blink an eye
And skillfully came up with an empathetic question,
Demonstrating his genuine acceptance.

I no longer had an excuse to cling to my script of lonely disconnection.
I no longer needed to criticise the celibate, religious them
To justify the queer spiritual me.
I could now let go,
Appreciate them,
This sacred space,
Feel at home for as long as needed,
Come out of my dark corner,
Totally surrender.

Healing Script part 6: Empty Seat

Terrace at Mar Musa Monastery, Syria

It was time to join the others for supper.
Unaware that soul had won this round of the battle
I sat down on the parameter wall by myself.
But I did not remain ignorant for long.

When stool became free I sat next to a new arrival.
“Where are you from?”, I asked.
“India”, the girl replied.
“Where in India?” I continued.
“Varanasi.” She said.
“That’s were I am going”, I said surprised.
“What for?” she asked.
"To film and to spend a lot of time on the ghats of the Ganges."
“Well”, she said. “We have a house set up for long term guests just like you”.
I nearly fell off my little stool.
“No, you are kidding me. But...
I want to be right next to the river though,
As close to the action as I can get”, I stressed.
“Well, let me see...” she said with a little chuckle in her voice,
It's about 30 meters from the Ganges,
Has a rooftop terrace with majestic views, will that do?”
-Will that do…!

This astonishing coincidence signaled that
I was no longer living my script of lonely disconnection,
That I could once again trust,
That everything will be OK,
That I was OK now,
That the battle was over.

The next morning
The fevers that had been plaguing me for weeks on end
Were gone,
Setting me free to continue my journey,
In search of a ‘home-within’.

Smoothing the Way


The apartment building where I live at the moment.

The road to the stupa from my residence is a rocky one. 4-wheel drive territory really. Probably washed out by monsoon rains. The holes so big that sandbags now smooth the way. I walk that road daily, lifting my trousers at times keep them dry, leaping over pools trying not to slip in the mud, closing my nose as I pass the open air butchers, saying hello to the man who always smiles at me, event hough I never bought something in his shop, buying apple pie and brown bread at the non-for-profit bakery that supports a rural school, looking worried at the building site where bricks are used to support a concrete building that will not have a chance of surviving an earthquake, listening to chanting as I pass the Tibetan monasteries, feasting my eyes on the stunning Tibetan brocades in the shops, stopping at the hairdresser for a shave, and having lunch at gthe Double Dorjee restaurant where they serve the best momo's. Around the last corner the mighty stupa rises in front of you as you enter the circular square.


Phulbari Road, Boudhanath.

It's not a perfect road at all, but it's full of life almost a complete micro cosmos. So much to see, smell and hear all in a mere 10 minute walk. I never get bored walking here, I never walk on 'automatic pilot', you can't as you would sprain your ankle or fall with your face in a mud pool. This road forces you to be aware and remain aware. Not a bad way to go through life.


Early morning offerings at the Stupa.

Meeting Old Friend


A photo of Teo Baba still hangs in the restaurant where he lived even though the restaurant changed owners and name.

Strange
A stranger
Never met
Never will meet
For he died
In 2000
Yet
Teo has been present
In my life
In the form of a script
Since 2001

His former home
Above a café
His portrait
Still having a presence
His paintings
Witnesses
Of a life
Of transformation

Discovering
My refection
In his portrait
As I filmed
As if
I bumped
Into an old friend
As you do
When you come home

Boudhanath, Nepal

The privilege
To walk
Among Tibetans
Circumambulating
The mighty stupa
Going round in circles
Getting nowhere
Happy
To just be
Here
Boudhanath





Tree of Life


This is one tree, enormous and ancient. It is the cutting of a cutting of the Bodhi tree where Buddha was born, Lumbini, Nepal

If Buddha's soul entered this world right here in Lumbini, Nepal, would that mean anything today, could that be of relevance to me, some 2600 years later? If this site has any merit, so let it manifest within me for the sake of myself and all sentient beings, as they say in Buddhism. May I receive a sign, an insight, a revelation, any form of enlightenment, whatever that may mean in this moment and time. With this request in mind I began to breathe in a way that strengthens life force energy and used it to connect with the site.

Immediately an image sprung to mind of a mandala surrounded by a circle, similar to the plan of a stupa. "But what does that mean?", I wondered. I barely had time to wait for an answer: "Walk around in circles, getting nowhere, let go of striving, of trying to get somewhere, plans, aspirations, expectations, just be. The mind will know the circle after one circumambulation and not expect anything new, get bored, switch off and be 'side-lined'. It is then that peace, new insights and purpose can be experienced.

Well, what can I say to that?

Namaste


Newari woman in the town of Tansen, Nepal

Like 22 years ago, the first time I went to Nepal, I am so happy to be here. It is my fifth time, and if you wonder why, just look at this photo. The people are one of the best in the world. I do not speak the language except some basics, but you don't need that to have a great time with the locals here, no matter their age, caste or gender. This is specially so when you step away from the touristy areas.

This woman was part of a group stitching leaves together that are being used as plates. The kids belonging to the women yelled from a distance "Namaste" (hello, welcome). I had a ball hanging out with them, filming, teasing, playing. When I was ready to leave them they insisted I had a cuppa tea first that was specially brewed for me. The pleasure was totally mutual.

Some Make It Some Don't.



The road to Nepal is not without hick-ups and challenges. The bus I traveled on got there in one piece, in twice the time it was supposed to take, but had great company of two Dutch and two Spanish travelers, making time fly by.

30 Second Presence: Clip 4: Bag Lady


Sofia, Bulgaria.

Click HERE to be taken to clip4 of the '30 Second Presence collection'. This collection has also a link under 'More pages by Marcel' on the right of this page.

30 Second Presence: Clip 3: 30 Second Wait




Click HERE to be taken to clip3 of the '30 Second Presence collection'. This collection has also a link under 'More pages by Marcel' on the right of this page.

30 Second Presence: Clip 2: Istanbul



Click HERE
and you will be taken to the second clip from the 30 Second Presence collection.

The Colour Orange



I love the colour orange, to such an extend that as long as something orange, no matter how gross or ugly, I will like it. Well this is heaven for me as India is a very colourful place with lots of orange. Unfortunately wearing orange is reserved for holy men so I can't wear my bright orange top here. Its too hot for that anyway.

Orange is also the colour representing anything Dutch. This because the surname of the Dutch royal family is 'Oranje' or Orange. That is not the reason why I like that colour, but it is a funny coincidence. It is also the colour associated with the second chakra or energy centre of the body, the centre of procreation and creativity. It is also a colour that I associate with Buddhism, novice monks in Thailand wear only orange for example.

Why I like this colour so much, I really don't know, it is not because of any of the cultural associations above. It just pulls me in, overrides my rational mind, almost like an addiction. I want it so badly, I like it so much, as if I have an unsatisfying hunger for... well for what? What is it about orange that I want so much, any of its associated cultural meanings, its frequency (as in light)?

Click HERE to visit a site that talks about other meanings associated with the colour orange

Resonance


9/11/2007: Tibetan temple Sarnath, India

Past the gate
Round the corner
A faint but firm rumbling approaches
Like a flash flood
Washes over me
Lifts my spirit
Effortlessly
Straightens my body
Up and out
As if floating in the universe
Carrying me closer to its source
Familiar, earthy, heavenly
Filling me with peace
Deep grounded inner peace
Need not go anywhere
Do, think or plan anything
Just be... home
But vibrations carries me further
So close
Need to look up
Up some steps
Through wide open doors
Tibetan monks beating drums, mumbling words
Resonating into one
Delightfully so
Into the core of my being

30 Second Presence: The Show

video
Video clip: Varanasi, India.

30 Second Presence will be a new show, my first one, where I will present clips observing one scene, one soundscape.

Filming, like meditation demands focus, concentration and presence.
In today's fast world, a 30 second red light is too much.
Media, such as TV, reflect that world.
This show will be different, featuring weekly a 30-second clip documenting one scene, one soundscape.
Precious time to just be.


I have created a separate page where this weekly show will be hosted. A link to this page can be found on the right, under 'More pages by Marcel'. At the bottom of that page you will find a link where you can subscribe to the page, so you will be notified when the next episode is posted.

Comments of any kind will be much appreciated as always.

Melting Pot

Varanasi, India.

A dead man just passed below my balcony. No he did not..., carried on a bamboo stretcher, by shouting men, stopping above the monkeys staring at the shimmering golden silk shroud with orange and white flowers. The procession winds through the maze of narrow alleys that magically accommodate wandering holy cows, scruffy barking dogs, motorbikes, hand-pulled carts, shoppers, tourists and pilgrims.

All need to nightly navigate the cow pads, sleeping dogs, gutters, sewers, rubbish and uneven pavement during power cuts. However should they choose to they will be carried by the sounds of sitars, temple bells and “hello sir, werrr you frrom?” smelling shit, spice and incense.

Life is tough in Varanasi, challenging to say the least, but honestly dirty, beautiful, alive, suffering, dying, burning, dead, rich, poor, mundane, holy, calm, chaotic, insane, sensible, harsh and sensitive. Nothing hidden, excluded, censured, edited or sanitised, its all there, in your face, like a mirror exposing your attitudes, belief systems and comfort zones.

The ghost that left...

Boat on the river Ganges, Varanasi, India, my harbour for the time being.

One year and two days ago
I set out
on a journey
of transformation

"Of what?"
You may ask
"Of what?"
I ask myself

"You still look the same"
You may say
"No I don't"
I reply

"Just look"
I continue
"At the proof below,
I am no longer am the ghost that left"

Passport photos are seldom flattering, but these don't lie. (photo left: when I left, photo right: right now)

"Please Reconfirm your Flight before Departure."



Being back in the country I grew up brings many questions each time I visit. Why did I leave, why do I come back and why do I always want to leave again? The answers are not straight forward, I wish they were. I look, listen and observe my feelings in search for answers. I search for mirrors that can show me who I am now.



There is still a sadness around the fact that I once emigrated. Sad that I did not feel comfortable here, sad that I felt the urge to go away, so far away, the furthest one can go physically on this planet from family, friends and the place I called home. The reality was that despite it was called home, I did not feel at home no matter how familiar it was. I did not feel this was a place where I could be 'me', or rather could grow to become me. It would have been much easier on a practical and emotional level to just stay here, but not on a developmental spiritual level. I think it was the desire for growth that motivated me most to move away.



I am very much a 'product' of this culture. I lived longer here than anywhere else. I often wonder how much of 'them' is still part of me. The longer I am away, the less I feel at home in this culture, the less I feel a connection with it's people and their way of living/thinking/being. I guess I have changed, and so have they, and with time the gap increases. I can do 'being Dutch', as I was raised that way, but more and more it feels like acting. It has become an uncomfortable act. I have concluded once again that time has come for me to leave, leave the Netherlands and leave Europe all together because if I act too long I become uncomfortable and I experience my stay as a Procrustean dismemberment.



I still have to spend a few weeks here before I am ready to move on to India where I intend to spend a few months. I won't be bored, there is still some filming to be done. My favorite subject is windmills. I have been filming them for the last 10 years. They are my axis mundi. They symbolise a spiritual connection with The Netherlands for me.



The questions that are raised when I visit my country of origin produce the same answers each time. I seem to go round and round in circles just like the wings of windmills, a confirmation perhaps that I did make the right choice for myself 20 years ago.

Life Line in Orkney



As teenager in the 70's I spend a lot of time alone in my tiny 2x3m bedroom studying and pretending to be studying. If I didn't and would be spotted by my parents doing something else, I would be ordered to do chores for the family bakery which I hated. This self-imposed isolation was only broken by secretly listening to my favorite radio station; Radio North Sea International.



The station was radio pirate station, housed on a ship located in international waters off the Dutch coast. There were a few of such stations between England and The Netherlands that became very popular in no time. In those days there were no mobile phones or computers. My transistor radio was the only lifeline to the outside world.



After a few years laws were passed that made pirate stations and supplying them illegal. I still remember the day that the station was shut down. For days I still tuned in, just in case... but it the airwaves remained silent, dead silent. It felt as if my Titanic had gone under...



A few days ago as I passed through the small Orkney village of St. Margaret's Hope, I spotted a ship with an unusual tall mast that looked like a radio mast. No... it couldn't be! I had to check it out, so I cycled over to the far end of the harbour.



When I got closer I the ship's flaking colour scheme on the hull became clear: red,white and blue, the colours of the Dutch flag. My mind was trying to mute my growing excitement by reminding me that those were also the colours of the Union Jack. As I rode my bike around a shed behind which the ship was moored there were more clues and all doubts were squashed when the rear of the ship read; Communicator, Rotterdam. Bingo, what a treasure and that here in sleepy St. Margaret's Hope of all places!



The ship is being dismantled here. The man in charge raised the possibility that this ship may have housed a few stations in it's life time. We are not quite sure which ones at this stage. This remarkable coincidence is an amazing opportunity for me to shoot footage about a part of my life that I was writing about only a few days earlier.