In the 1990s I travelled to Nepal for two weeks to explore Kathmandu. I stayed with family who were working there at the time. During this trip I met Robina Courtin – a Western Tibetan Buddhist nun who inspired me to enquire into Buddhism. Whilst on the trip I experienced for the first time the burning ghats. It is without doubt that this experience of witnessing bodies burning by the river acted as a memento mori of the inevitability of death. As a result of this trip the reality of the impermanence of life struck home. Following the experience I became a keen reader of eastern philosophy.
Life gets a bit prickly sometimes. But there is always something to learn from it. Much as the centre of a thistle contains the nectar that the bee seeks.
Los Raqueros are a series of Bay Sculptures on the waterfront in Santander, Northern Spain. The sculptures represent young children who used to scavenge round the docks for a living. They were known as ‘wreckers’ from the word ‘shipwreckers’. The children used to dive into the waters of the bay to collect coins that passersby threw in for them. I am particularly fond of the sculpture sitting on what looks like a mushroom and is intently staring into the water. I was so enamoured by this statue that I used the photo on the cover of my Yoga dissertation in 2017 because it represents a sense of single-pointed focus.
Jose Cobo is the local sculptor and the sculptures were mounted in position on the waterfront in 1999.
This photo was taken on one of my trips towards finishing the Camino de Santiago from 2014-2017. My friend and I flew into Santander then took a bus down to the Camino trail. Gill and I were walking the Camino to remember my walking partner Alan who died suddenly of an aneurysm in 2013. We finished the 500 miles by taking two weeks off work each year over the four years from 2014-2017.
Typical Santander characters, described by Jose Maria de Pereda, who in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries frequented the machinas and used to take a school in Peurtochico, diving in the waters of the bay to collect the coins that the curious threw at them.
Nearest translation I could get through translation websites. Thank you Rosetta Stone. Not sure what ‘machinas’ means but from the context appears to be a place name.