The Ambitious Drifter

Words, Images and The Occasional Noise


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There’s no place stranger than home.

What’s the strangest place from which you’ve posted to your blog? When was the last time you were out and about, and suddenly thought, “I need to write about this!”? Photographers, artists, poets: show us STRANGE.

I’ve been a stranger in a strange land for lots of my life.  As a ten year old, I migrated from England’s green and pleasant (cold wet and depressed) land to sunny Australia. It couldnt have been more different. We lived in a new suburb that seemed like the desert to me. I’m not sure I ever came to terms with that. As I grow older, the more I like the place.

When I was a young musician, Adelaide seemed so far away from anything. Sydney seemed to be where it was all happening and the trees were green. I learned to love Australian nature, especially when walking in the Tasmanian rainforests.

I went overseas at quite a late age, working first in Brussels. That seemed very strange to start with. I was living the good life with a great bunch of people.  I have very happy memories.  I spent a lot of time living and working in the Netherlands… a weird mixture of familiarity and alien-ness.  For some odd reason I always feel like i’m coming home when I go to Amsterdam.

Living in France is not strange at all, it’s my version of ‘France’ .  I’m so much of an outsider that I make my own world here.

I’ve left two countries till last.

Before I first went to Japan I lay awake at nights wondering if I hadnt made a terrible mistake.  It was so foreign, I thought, not the comfortable Europe of my own culture.  As it turned out I loved the place and its people. It was very easy to get around and a beautifully spiritual place, despite the crowded cities. I will always be a tourist there.  In Europe I’m a traveller.

And England?  I was born there, I am English, but it’s not my country. Maybe I should say I’m British. It’s not that ‘my England’ has gone, or been corrupted … but I no longer see it through a child’s eyes.  The past is another country.  Because I notice so much when I’m there, it’s the strangest place of all.

But it’s me really, all these places are actually ‘normal’. The stranger is always me. The camera is my diary of the richness of it all.

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Bert Flugelman Sculpture, Adelaide, South Australia.

Distorted self portrait of the photographer.

Click to enlarge and see Rundle Mall  as it isnt.


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Beachcombing

Our blogs morph over time, as interests shift and life happens. Write a post for your blog — but three years in the future. Photographers, artists, poets: show us LIFE.

September 2016

Back down to the beach again, eager to see what the water is doing.  Life as a beachcomber is not so bad, the tide brings ideas. As it retreats, so do my worries. They’ll be back, but the clean beach is a restful place. The tide doesnt care if I’m there or not. It is just the endless business of the sea.

Today it brought me a lime…. a good start for a caipirinha!

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A future dream of a quiet life, more accepting of my problems, learning to see reward in the smaller things. 


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Dreams and all that stuff.

When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? What are you now? Are the two connected?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us DREAMS.

Another challenge from the  Daily Prompt.

At almost half a century beyond that 10 y.o. landmark, I still dont really know what I want to be when I grow up.
Apart from the usual youthful dreams of stardom, fame and riches, I always wanted to be different. I was fixated on what I didnt want to be. This is normal enough for a kid growing up in the suburbs of what seemed like a small and remote city. I didnt want the kind of life, rewarding as it could have been, that was offered by that time or place.
I wasnt different at all. Apart from being left handed (a story in itself) I am completely normal. Even the inability to properly grow up is common to my generation. My recent illness,and life in general, have helped me grow up a lot in the past few years. Then again, I’ve got a way to go.I still want to be remarkable, extraordinary, compellingly different.
I do know, now, that all of us are extraordinary. There is no ‘same’, everyone, when you get to know them, has a story. No one is really the boring clone I imagined when I was young.
I am beyond my dreams. I’ve seen and done things I could never have imagined when I was a ten year old. I’ve had careers in fields that did not exist at that time. I’ve been places I’d never heard of. I’ve drunk great wines in fabulous restaurants that would have surprised my popstar alter ego. As I’ve said before, my ‘bucket list‘ would be a summary of what’s already in there.
No mature adult would let a teenager, let alone a ten year old, decide for them what their life should be. Yet with our dreams, that’s what we do.
As an Ambitious Drifter it is my duty to tell you this. Follow your dreams by all means, but never close your mind to the unpredictable winds of change. Be willing to follow a track you have yet to imagine.

My photo archive is a record of my dreams,even the ones I didnt have, that came true.  It’s also a good place to find dream landscapes, strange structures and visions.

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sea 2


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Nomad.

This is in response to the Daily Prompt….. ‘There’s no place like home’.

In my family I”m regarded as the gypsy….. the nomad. I’m a long way from Adelaide, South Australia, where I grew up.  It wasnt always true though. When I was younger I really didnt go anywhere. I didnt do the classic Australian ‘trip to Europe’, preferring to spend my time and money playing in local bands. A job opportunity in the late 90’s took me quite suddenly to Brussels, since then I’ve been quite nomadic.

I always said I wouldnt travel unless I could spend enough time in places to understand them. Having spent years living in Brussels, Amsterdam,The Hague and rural France, I’m not sure I do understand that much more about these places. Maybe I do understand myself a bit better, but even then I might have missed the point.

Where is ‘home’?  I”m confused about that. It”s in my heart, it’s my loved ones… even though they’re far away. I do sometimes feel like I’ve wandered too far and gotten lost. Hooray for the internet…. when I talk to my lover I am no longer lost.

As I move, some places do feel like home. I’ve always felt at home in London. I was born in England and London is at the heart of English history and culture. Every street has a story, and a history. I feel like I know them all, from Baker St to Carnaby St; I even know where Diagon Alley is (runs off Charing Cross Rd near Foyles).

Strangely, I’ve always felt ‘at home’ in Amsterdam. Even on my first visit I felt like I was coming home. I dont know why, I dont think I have any Dutch ancestry. I spent my first six months getting hopelessly lost. I’m programmed for Adelaide’s grid pattern streets, not circular canals that sneak up behind you.

So, what is ‘moving’ to me?  Toots & The Maytals will tell you that ‘Still is still moving to me‘ and they’re right. For me, moving is a stream. It’s always moving,always changing, but it’s always still there. It follows an ancient course reflecting light that is forever new.

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Ruisseau des Carmes,Figeac, France.


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Rust

I used to think it was better to burn out than to rust, a common enough thought when you’re young. Now I’m not so sure, as I sit here gently rusting. I still have my burning moments, but I see that rusting can be a graceful process. The sharp, straight edges are getting  sculpted into softer organic forms. A shiny featureless skin can become a coat of interesting textures.

I wonder as I’m rusting, will people be able to see what I used to be? Or will they see some different thing, made interesting by decay?   I think it takes a special eye, a loving eye, to see some benefit in these changes.

These photos came from a deserted farm on Kangaroo Island,South Australia, a farm implement and my favourite rusty door near where I live in France and from a cemetery in Newtwon,NSW,Australia.

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