‘L’effondrement d’un monde’, the collapse of a world, certainly the Western European world, conditioned by incoherent ideology, inane politics, absurd economics, and make-believe unity, all of which nature’s insidious creation has also shown to be ridiculously false, and should also render null and void.

The same applies to the East, to China’s constant lying, vainly trying to project an image of the world’s most perfect, paradoxical system- capitalist communism. The culmination of made in China is the Coronavirus itself. It symbolises the rotten core of a nation that has prospered too long on slavery, exploitation and monopoly.

When danger is imminent, instinctively one’s first concern is for the family, for loved ones. The family never loses its essential importance, despite the establishment’s constant efforts in demeaning its value. The same applies to nations, which are extensions of the family, and reflect cultural identity forged by history.

How irrational to claim that nations and nationalism, which is fatherland and patriotism, are obsolete. How senseless for a head of State to declare to an interlocutor- ‘your problem is that you believe a father is necessarily male'...

This terrible virus reveals how lost humanity has become. It highlights humanity’s weakness, Europe’s lamentable lack of solidarity. The uselessness of the EU and its overpaid mediocrity. It throws even more light on how Turkey under Erdogan deludes itself in believing in a tyrant who can stoop so low as to deprive Italy from the most basic necessities at a terribly crucial time of need. It reveals more than ever the total irresponsibility of obsessively implementing the ideology of mass immigration.

This cruel, indiscriminate, and appropriately- made in China- virus, has shocked the world, and in doing so has inevitably brought home realities and values that matter most. It has reminded us of who we are, and of what life and death really mean.

Text and image © Mirino. March, 2020 

Dark, idle thoughts

based on good faith

It springs to mind that Greta and her family should take extra care not to contract the dreaded virus. It would run against the grain of their man-made, climate change, doomsday theory.
God, or Nature, who and which in many ways amount to the same Almighty Power, always has the last word, and seems to have a vast array of surprises in store for man, woman, and the ‘progressive’, ambiguous kind. Such power is never short of imaginative innovations that are not necessary helpful in paving the way for the future of humanity.
Because of this, one is inclined to believe that there must be a reason for these unanticipated events. There is, after all, a reason for everything.

Greed for wealth and power has beguiled and corrupted too many who claim to represent us, to the detriment of more positive, essential values. The world has profited from contemporary, oriental slavery. It relies on China for virtually everything. Has the Chinese bubble reached the stage where it could finally burst?

The controversial multibillionaire has invested billions of dollars in trying to initiate a new, conform, global, social order. His imagined, neo-Marxist lubie of ‘Utopia’, where culture would no longer have any reason of being, as it implies individuality and identity. Nations and borders would no longer exist, so cultural identity, sovereignty, patriotism and patrimony would also, in theory, have no more reason of being. The only exception to the rule would be Islam, which is more a bellicose, expansionist, disciplined, but obsolete ideology than a religion. Perhaps the ‘elite’ delude themselves in believing that it would be easier to globally govern a disciplined, Islamic society, than to govern a more democratic, culturally diverse society.

Imagine then for a moment that the open border idiocy backfires mainly because the imposed, uncontrolled, illegal immigration inanity, instead of being theoretically destined to act as the social catalyser, becomes the most effective means of making sure that the Coronavirus is spread equally throughout the world, creating disastrous, global disorder.

The desired social conformity would thus be limited to humanity being uniformly infected with a virus that in too many cases has already proved itself to be indiscriminately lethal.
Some might even think that this could be part of an insidious plot to reduce populations, but that would be totally incoherent.
Should the over-rich, cynic, the megalomaniac misanthrope, who could have done so much good for the world, be deprived of his final bonus years because of contracting this dire infection, God forbid, he wouldn’t even have time to reflect on the utter folly of his lifetime obsession.

They who take themselves for Gods often learn the hard way that only divinity (if not art) is immortal throughout recorded history of civilisation. Self-proclaimed gods who abuse financial, or theocratical power, only leave a wake of misery behind them. They are as ephemeral as autumn leaves, but autumn leaves are far more glorious and memorable.

Text and images © Mirino. March, 2020

The Swan

I’ve roamed the misty glens of the Highlands
And seen its limpid streams flow o’er falls.
I’ve felt the sad depth of shameful history,
And left sweet spirits there to reconcile.

I’ve seen the magic sunsets of Arisaig,
The safe place sweet as perfumed dreams,
And never will I forget the message of the swan
Gliding so divinely ‘cross the bay.

The calm sea was lit by setting sunlight,
Such a sight was indeed heaven sent
For the swan came in like a Godly blessing
And I knew then that all would be alright.
 (Am, Bm7, Em7)

A last visit to the west coast of Scotland, ‘en famille'. A difficult, life changing period, more than twenty years ago.

On the first evening of our arrival, I wandered down to the bay of Arisaig. I knew that the sunset would be special.

At that time digital photography had yet to be developed, and one tended to believe more in one’s trusty Nikkormat, than what was then mistakenly thought to be digital whims.
I took some good pictures, then satisfied, started to climb the bank to return to the lovely wee cottage where we were staying. I turned once more to admire the final, glorious scene, and then saw the swan graciously coming straight towards me into the bay. It was unbelievably beautiful. The swan then turned as if it knew that it would be offering me a timeless gift. I only took one photograph. I don’t remember why. Perhaps because I knew there was only one to take.

Romantics like to read meanings into such memorable sights. Perhaps more than the latter really deserve, but one doesn’t have to be a romantic to be convinced that there’s a reason for everything.

I always smile when recalling this, because at that particular time it seemed so significant, such a sweet gift. For various reasons, including what I vaguely allude to here, I knew that everything would be alright. There’s absolutely no doubt that this has proved to be the case.
With the passage of time one puts certain events, even such fleeting incidents, into perspective. One becomes even more conscious of how significant they are. For me this magic moment is a marker, a white stone. This is also why I pay homage to the swan.

Text, images and ballad © Mirino. January, 2020


On the 27th November, 2019, the small village of Cenova, Rezzo, Imperia, in Italy was hit by serious landslides. The dramatic consequence of too many days of heavy rain.
As it was difficult to assess the scale of the first avalanche, the villagers were told to leave their homes and pass the night sleeping in their cars parked in safe zones below.

The following days everyone helped as best they could to clear away the debris, rocks and, most of all mud. Small bulldozers and mobile grabbing cranes cleared away tree trunks, huge rocks and mud. High pressure water hoses were used to clear the village lanes.
We helped neighbours whose door of their house had been forced open by the rocks and mud, filling the ground floor up to almost a metre in depth.

It had stopped raining. There was even sunshine. We imagined that we could continue the work.
But then another, more serious landslide occurred. It was mesmerising to watch, and to wonder at the extraordinary force of water able to move such massive rocks. This time they pulverised the nave of the 15th century chapel auditorium.

The landslide also dislodged a large, communal gas tank, as though it were a small tin can. The real danger of its explosion prompted an immediate evacuation of the village. The tank had to be emptied, and at nightfall the firemen with volunteers (Claudio and Filippo) took considerable risks in doing what was necessary to enable the firemen to burn off the remaining gas content.

During this time, those who had no immediate, alternative accommodation were generously received by the Red Cross in the neighbouring village of Pieve di Teco. There was even a cake that the kind mother of an aimable volunteer had baked, with a little note to welcome their ‘guests’. Even our dog was spoilt and made welcome. They are wonderful, generous people.
When we were finally allowed to return to Cenova, the drama was still not over. The forecast of heavy rain set for Friday 20th December was very worrying.

Throughout the previous night, in the worst possible conditions, five volunteers (disparagingly calling themselves ‘the five coglioni’) including those who had taken personal risks regarding the gas tank, worked high up in the hills near what was left of the security barrier that the first avalanche had broken through. They worked hard and succeeded in deviating important passages of water in order to reduce the chance of another landslide. Thanks to their efforts, the heavy rain of Friday thus added relatively little damage to that already caused.

From then on we were blessed with days of sunshine.
Donations had been gathered; care of don Marco and the parochial of the bassa Valle Arroscia to kindly offer a dinner at a local albergo restaurant to the habitants of Cenova. And after the excellent meal, the bottles of wine left over were generously shared amongst the guests.
The mayor of Rezzo has been encouraged by the amount of support promised from the regional authorities of Liguria, which could mean that not only a security barrier will be built more solidly and effectively to withstand extreme conditions, but that the auditorium will be restored, which would be a wonderful thing. But Cenova, full of historical significance, certainly deserves such care and attention.

What is particularly remarkable is the solidarity of the community, the staunchness, kindness and generosity. This soars far above the significance of the catastrophe.
For example, it’s not as though one did a great deal in trying to help neighbour friends clear their little home of mud and stones, yet in spite of their plight, made worse by the second landslide, they left a panettone with a thoughtful little Christmas message at our door.

It’s also the sincere faith of the community, faith sadly lost in other parts of Western Europe. This gives the villagers the necessary strength to come to terms with such natural disasters. It gives them hope and the force to shrug it off and carry on making the best of everything. It’s an essential aspect of the Italian spirit, and another reason why Italy is so special.

Special thanks to the firemen who worked tirelessly during the worst part of the crisis. Thanks also to the Commune, the police, and the civil protection.
Text, 2nd, 5th and last image © Mirino. (With thanks to Nadia for the use of the top image, and to those who took the other photos). December, 2019


The spectacular event of green leaves turning to reds and yellows in October and into November happens when trees have taken all the nourriture they can from the leaves that are filled with chlorophyll, the biomolecule that absorbs energy from sunlight and gives leaves their green colour.
When sunlight wanes, and leaves stop making nourishment, this green pigment is broken down into opposing colour compounds. Yellow pigments are then revealed and other chemical changes cause red coloration.

Biologically, the reason why green leaves turn to hues of reds and golds in the autumn season, is when trees have depleted all the nouriture obtained by chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis, allowing green leaves to absorb energy from light. Green leaves convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose.

Although artists and poets might be aware of this biological process, they regard the glorious colour change more philosophically, or they might relate it to the theory of colour.

I have often referred to colour polarity, and polarity in general, as I find it a fascinating subject. Depending on the tree, of course, the particular green of its leaves, the colour change process seems to reach its splendid culmination when the hue of red becomes the exact opposite of the original hue of green.

A green leaf that tends towards yellow might change to a reddish gold, and a green that tends towards turquoise might change to a warm silver tint. But then the richness and variety of autumn colours defy such theorising.

The philosophical aspect is of course the fabulous crescendo of colour that heralds the cycle of life and death. Polarity. The leaves fall, or are carried off by the wind. They become brittle, then sodden and colourless. The earth reclaims them.
When leaves like those of maple or sycamore become brittle, breaking away leaving only the graceful, skeletal veins like fine lace, one always admires such exquisite, intricate, geometrical beauty.

Each year we see this, and are always enchanted, as we also are by the magic of spring. Or certainly we should be. Naturally the seasonal shows are not always the same each year, but then this enhances the wonder and beauty of natural evolution.

Autumn reminds us of the ephemerality of life. It always evokes nostalgia and reflection. But it also reassures. Whatever soothsayers claim to predict, more intent on prophesying dismal doom than paying heed to such sublime, fleeting gifts, seasons continue their cycles. Each year they graciously and poetically reveal divine, timeless truth.

 Text and images © Mirino. November, 2019

Boris Johnson

The family of Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson is intriguing. Boris was born in NYC the 19th June, 1964. He has both British and American nationalities. From his grandfather (Osman Wilfred Kemal Johnson) he is also of Turkish descent. Boris’s father, Stanley Patrick Johnson (born in 1940, Penzance, Cornwall) is a writer and was a Conservative politician. He was also employed by the World Bank, and the European Commission. He fathered six children from two marriages.

From Stanley’s first marriage were born Boris, his sister, Rachel (journalist, TV panelist) two brothers who were to become equally successful, Jo (Tory MP, and minister of State for Universities and Science) and Leo (film producer and entrepreneur).
Boris’s wife Marina Wheeler, is also quite often in the limelight. She is a reputable barrister who specialises in public law and human rights.

‘Bojo’ was educated in Brussels, at The European School. Following this he attended Ashdown House in East Sussex, UK, then Eton college, Berkshire. He also read classics at Balliol College, Oxford.
He began his career as a journalist for The Times, but as he apparently misquoted a citation, The Times decided he should leave. He then became the Brussels correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. His articles contributed to Euroscepticism, or perhaps more appropriately ‘EU-scepticism’.
Formerly assistant editor of The Telegraph, he then became editor of The Spectator.

In addition to his journalism, Boris has written 21 books including The Perils of Pushy Parents, a book for all ages that he also illustrated. His most popular book is The Churchill Factor. (BJ is a great admirer of Winston Churchill.)

Despite his obvious talent as a writer, he was destined to become a politician. He served as a Junior Conservative Shadow Minister under Michael Howard and David Cameron. In 2008, BJ was elected Mayor of London, then re-elected for a second term in 2012.
Elected MP (Uxbridge and South Ruislip) in 2015, BJ stepped down as London’s Mayor. The following year he had a notable influence towards the winning Brexit vote, but was subject to Theresa May’s PM leadership. He served under her as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
As BJ disapproved of May’s lame, compromising Brexit approach which included the Chequers Agreement, he resigned two years later. May’s failing to obtain acceptable EU terms for Brexit determined her own resignation in 2019. BJ was elected leader of the Conservative Party then appointed the function of PM in August, 2019.

Boris Johnson is of course, a controversial figure in politics. Many ‘remainers’ dislike him intensely. They accuse him of every evil imaginable, not unlike the criticisms of the many anti-Trump democrats in the USA. But the 'remainers' seem to have illusions about the EU. Perhaps they believe that the club represents the only possible future for Europe, which must include the UK.
They regard BJ as a dated vestige of the old school, the privileged elite of GB, living in the decadent, aristocratic, British imperial past. Perhaps from their limited view point within the UK, they are oblivious to the real direction the EU executive is trying to take Europe. They seem to ignore that the ‘old school’, the conservatism, the sincere patriotism, national pride, sovereignty, defence of democracy, of cultural identity, and a wholesome resurgence of confidence, is far more preferable, than the EU executive form of elitism. An elitism which seems to foster a Marxist inspired agenda of servitude, of social conformity devoid of nations. An executive that obsessively gives priority to an irresponsible, ideological program to the utter detriment of all of the above essentially positive considerations, naturally including democracy itself.

Yet one also gets the impression that the ‘remainers’ are not as sure as they were. One can hardly ignore the negative effects of imposed, illegal immigration. One can’t dismiss the fact that the EU no longer represents the union of European nations. If the EU executive had the intention of sacrificing everything that it’s supposed to represent, for an absurd, ideological objective, it couldn’t do a better job.

As PM, Boris Johnson has a simple, logical argument in order to defend and determine Brexit, either with or without a deal, if the latter is deemed absolutely unavoidable. As the labour opposition headed by Jeremy Corbyn is naturally against what BJ proposes, he has the option of calling for a general election. In other words if Corbyn believes that the ‘remainers’ outnumber the leavers, he should go for an election.
He would know that he and the Labour Party are certainly not the first choice of the people, but if he was absolutely certain that he had the majority support for the UK to remain an EU member, then he would have everything to gain by calling for a general election.
The fact that Corbyn is not sure, and that members of the opposition seem to be less adamant about remaining than perhaps they previously were, is naturally in Boris’s, and Brexit’s favour.

Obviously it is a crucial period for the UK, for Europe, and for the EU. Perhaps even more determining for the EU. Assuming the UK leaves the EU one way or the other, and prospers from having done so in all respects, then it can only increase the already mounting EU scepticism on the continent. It would certainly cause general changes in EU policy.

Whatever is destined to be, BoJo is succeeding in boosting the moral, the patriotism, the pride, the stoic, stiff-upper-lip, inherent identity of the blitz enduring Brits, famous characteristics that may have been somewhat dampened by ‘circumstances beyond one’s control’.

And maybe one should be wary of BJ’s feigning not to take himself too seriously. This in itself is a redoubtable arm that he can wield with ruthless mastery.
Boris Johnson is absolutely determined to pull it off. No doubt inspired by the famous Winston he so admires, BJ, and the ever growing number of those who have faith in him, ‘will never surrender’.

 Text and top illustration © Mirino (with thanks for the use of the named Union Jack, and to Wikipedia for the bio info). October, 2019