Four Days, She will have been 96 Years of Age..


IMG_0365She was never silent when I knew her

She made silent bike rides to the Iconic Catholic Church on Bourke Road with the gold statue of Mary, I can’t recall its name, Mariology is such a vast topic…And interesting enough her name, on her birth certificate, is, Marie, and I think that has some linguistic connections to Mary et alii..

Dead within 6 months of a diagnosis of Lung Cancer at 66 years of age, an ex smoker…her surgeon, who she herself was a smoker, opened her up, told her you have 6 months to live…like many medical people, her attention to detail was spot on almost to the very day.  Left school at 12/13/14 as so many rural wimmin were.  She worked as a book binder for the high profile printers in Maitland, Dymocks, or Dimmocks , I can never get it correct. Sydney people of whom I speak I am sure.  In retrospect, uncanny, that my mother, who could not read competently , spent her first working hours caring for the printed word…that is something that I am especially fond of in looking back.

A mother at 22, and again at 32…quite a post natal distance…it was complicated though my father said it was a matter of Alcohol….so twice, but I did never say so to his face. They did the best efforts they could, a salesman and a home maker in the 1950’s in Melbourne.

I have noted in rereading this entry, there is a plethora of digits….how moderno I am I in this digitalised world of 2018.

Writing such as these are always an expression, for me, of love, of gratitude, of humour , of many things along the continuum of 73 years of breathing, sometimes easy, others not as quite.  Both she, Marie, and he, Robert, Bob, taught me from an early age about respect, regardless of age, ethnicity etc.  That is legacy I hold dear to this day.  I spent the first 20 plus years of my life in a rather beige closet, some occasional color fortunately.  Their reaction at the ‘Announcement’ was worthy of a Golden Globe….that is a further story well worth telling.

So the German Wine has eased the typing of this brief tribute, son’s and mothers…..It was going on lifetimes ago

Oedipus Ring Ya Motha

Love Lloyd

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Ajarn


P1000278Often you read stuff I post with the word ‘Ajarn’……Teacher is fine with me, you can delve into Thai Educational Nomenclature at your own ease..I cannot recall what year this was, it was well after I had left Thailand with a bowel cancer diagnosis.

A few years after the Oncological, Surgical Nightmare I was able to return to the University where I had taught for four years, I continued to be welcomed to my Alma Mater till 2016, this was the last time I stood bare footed in front of my Saffron Robed Cheekee Monkees….It was always interesting for me, an ex monk, to be teaching these young monks who came from across South East Asia to study at Mahachulalongkorn Buddisht University in Chiangmai, Thailand….and now not only are the poor males of Northern Thailand being given the chance of Tertiary Education but the University also accepts young wimmin….I had some of my happiest days teaching at this University, there was serenity, there was a lot of laughter, and days when I cried with joyfulness.

When I began teaching in Jung in the Wimmera of Victoria, I had no indication that my journey would take me to teaching in a Buddhist University …There are gaps in this story but it is one which I was able to be part of…

World Aids Day 2018


The privilege as a 73 year old gay man…

We buried out friends, and our lovers…it was a Community Catastrophe..We must continue to love and support those whom we love, and that is a daily love, nothing to do with any date/s…Bring ya love to the hearts of those who need it, mortality is our shared certainy… and never let go of one minute of joy that passes through ones life…

Memento Mori David Patrick Sargent..

FOR SAMRAN


You held my surgically sutured body in your arms..

You have continued to hold my ageing flesh for many years, adjusting your lovingness throughout each day…..My Ajarn, in so many ways.

For this I am truly grateful

With love

Ajarn

THE SCREAM


It reverberates our urban scape…the full on mortality

Easier when young, no, it is not

Within our breathe is the scream, for breathe, for survival

Care, connection, concoction…

How cushioned is the bubble one lives in… Continue reading

Saffron Withdrawal


P1000278I had not returned to Thailand for just on two years…The last visit alerted me to many aspects of travel twixt being 29 and being 73…numbers you easily may comment…but here to write of a return visit not of my health challenges….that becomes both a boring conversation and a repetitive one I have experienced.

The utter joy of interacting with the Thai in their language, the silliness, the smiles, the poverty, the kreng jai, all of it still in place….You understand I needs be vigilant in what I write in this Blog Entry.

Not being with Sammy for ten days was a challenge but I had friendship/s….not always smooth travelling…So the Saffron did not happen this visit , I guess I wanted some kinda affirmation that I could still be an Ajarn, and that I would make these young men confident…..I will not enter into a Buddhist Discourse, other than to say it was a privilege to teach them and that I missed doing so this visit…

My years in Thailand began in Chiangmai, it is deep within me

To my family at Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University Chiangmai

Khop Khun

Last Breathing


P1000037She was the first to stop breathing….

He, the Husband, the father of her two sons, he was to die seven years later…They were in lust and married in 1946 at the Bishop’s House in Maitland N.S.W…

The elder son, I was at the bed side for both of them …

She, Marie Theresa Blakeley, in the single bed she had slept in for the last 20 years,  at 2 Le Gallienne Crescent, Mulgrave, he, Robert Lloyd Blakeley, in a bed at The Alfred Hospital, Prahran….I forget the number of the Ward….

I saw the blood leave the faces of my parents.  I sat with their life less bodies.  The last breathe of each, some seven years apart, I was with each of them…the two people who gave me life…my parents..

Doctor David Bathgate told me to make peace with my parents before they die, he had not.  Often psychiatrists offer inaccurate information I have experienced …

The Last Breath….I am not a Buddhist but I Breathe

Things My Mother Said


IMG_0365It was in the 80’s, in the late 80’s….I was visiting the second Family Home, quaint phrase these daze…..It was always an effort to drive from St Kilda/Elwood to Mulgrave, or has been described as North Springvale….I did it for almost twenty years, it was a display home that we moved to in 1968 after living in Murrumbeena since 1946….for me it seemed almost rural, but Mum and Dad needed a three bedroom house as my younger brother became older….it was a classical faux Colonial with ‘gold’ taps and ‘marble’ basin that you saw in brochures of the time…in fact from memory it became almost ritualistic for families to make pilgrimages to outer suburbs and visit Display Villages…

My brother was still at Secondary School and I was in my second year at Frankston Teachers’ College.  Both Mum and Dad had a car.  I did not.  I felt isolated but friends drove me to College each day and home again.

Initially the new house was a sea of polished boards, eventually they put carpet through the living and dining area.  No idea as to why.  Mum was the decorator.  And it was while we lived here that she applied for a job in a factory.  I can’t remember what she actually was doing other than to know it gave here independence after far too many years of ‘home making’.  My father was quick to stifle any of this and told her that if she were to go to work it would, in some vague way I have no idea of, affect his taxation.  Am an economic Luddite sadly.  Funnily enough he was a great admirer of PJ Keating..

This has been such a roundabout way of getting out the words that I want share.  I am an old, white man.  I tend not to be angry for too much of the time.  I do respond to outrageous injustice as many of you might have picked up from my Facebook Posts.  Having said that, I want to offer a tiny glimpse into an exchange twixt my mother and I not long before she died at 66 years of age from lung cancer.

It took place in the home I have just described, though far from the gold taps, closer to the carpeted living and dining room….she sat in her ubiquitous Green Chair and said to me :  ‘Lloyd, I am sorry, you are too much like me!’  I replied : ‘There is no need for Apology Marie, I consider you a strong woman, and that I admire’

I hope that her Legacy remains and her, the female members of the family, all whom had/have a great impression and influence when I was a young boy, strength is a gift.

Face En Face


Temples We Call Our Bodies


IMG_1304I remember as a young man when I hardly ever reflected on my physical being, I knew of the changes, but they were not the changes that I am now aware of decades later..One ran with a relative level of athleticism, even scored a few coloured ribbons in early Secondary School, but never a jock….tennis, football, soccer, swimming, handball, athletics, gymnastics, basket ball , were all part of my life ….It was a long time ago, all that is left is swimming.

My life began with Churches and went on to Temples….When I first heard the phrase “My Body Is My Temple’  many years ago, it was amusing when I heard it.   And now as the functions of my corporeality become lessened and a focus on the natural process of impermanence I reflect on how I treated this Temple in the last 50 years.  There are plenty of witnesses still alive who knew/know the Temple.

I have always found comfort in these words:  ‘If you are not living on the Edge then you are taking up space’