Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Europe

My beardie cut around the world

By order of the management and because barbers reopen today I’m off to get my beardie cut.

And I’m lucky enough that my new hometown of North Berwick, south of Edinburgh, has a Turkish barber.

Because the Turkish barber experience is the pampering I never got.

When I was a kid when it was always a short back and sides.

While nowadays you can get a Turkish haircut and shave.

In every major town or city back in the day you needed to go to Turkey

Bodrum barber

For me it was that favourite hotspot of Bodrum where I got preened and pruned, lacquered and layered.

And got the hairs on my nose and ears burned off with a lighter.

It was natural then that when I visited Marrakech

And and was given some free time that I went for a Turkish shave.

Only the ‘friendly’ Moroccan proved to be a ‘false guide’.

Morocco rocky road

Who took me around the squares and souks of the Pink City before we got to a mall.

Where he placed me in his friend’s barber’s chair.

I asked how much it would be and when he quoted me a high price I proceeded to leave only to be pinned back in the chair.

I did manage to manoeuvre myself off the seat and meandered.

Around the mall, all the time trying to ignore the hawkers and barterers.

After a suitable time in which I had hoped I would have lost him I found the front door.

Where he was, shouting ‘F*****g thief, you pay me, I am your guide.’

I ran out onto the streets only for the heavens to open.

Colour me

It was only the beginning of my Moroccan adventures which I will tell you more about anon.

The answer, of course, is to grow out a beard which I started to do on my Camino and A pilgrim’s prayer.

And coloured at more than one party around the world.

And from natural plants, as in Tobago where I also got my bouffon cut down.

To a more comfortable crew cut for Caribbean heat and

Now it’s hard to wash that out because you then return to the humdrum of normal life.

Daddy’s Little Girl

Nowadays I have Daddy’s Little Girl to colour my whiskers.

Although I watch to see if she’s got any scissors to hand.

She’s under orders from the management.

Africa, America, Asia, Culture, Europe, Ireland

Give us this Day – funerals

It’s not been a typical Sunday – when I got to my new church today the regular priest wasn’t there because he had died the previous week.

A monseigneur, the good man who was clearly well liked had worked until his mid-eighties.

But then again my Dear Old Dad would have done the same.

The Big Man in Donegal

Should you be passing through somewhere on your holidays, and like me you go to where people play and pray, then you might witness a funeral.

I did in Marrakech when I was trying to get out of the souk without being robbed blind, by a jewellery seller trying to thrust a mint tea into my mitts.

And so here is an unscientific funeral procession around the world:

The Marrakech Express

Souk life in Morocco

Morocco: The Muslim tradition is that the dead should be carried shrouded through the streets with their feet exposed.

Through a busy souk cheek-to-cheek with a Moroccan huckster…

The funeral pyre

Fiery funeral

India; Note to family and friends, I’m considering Antyasti…

Being burnt on a pyre by a river where Hindus like to put rice into the dead person’s mouth among other rituals.

Being of the Glaswegian variety, I’d ask for some chicken tikka masala in there too. Visit

Hang ’em high in the Far East

Hillside haven

Philippines, China, Indonesia: The superstitious people of the Far East like to get a rung up on the route to heaven.

By hanging funerals to the side of hills.

They don’t say what happens when there’s a landslide or avalanche though! Visit,,

They do them well in Ireland

Life is just a bowl of cherries, Dad

Ireland: And naturally there’s drink involved.

On the night before the funeral traditionally the body is laid out for the wake.

And that would mean in the front, or best, room where the deceased would be togged out in their best clothes.

And drinks would be had around them and stories told. Slainte. See and

And for some country life see Monaghan’s country roads.

The Saints are coming in New Orleans

Let the music play

New Orleans: This is the way to go… with trumpet blast at a jazz funeral.

And its the way that the good people of Norleans do it.

Me, my introduction to Norleans was at the American Travel Fair, IPW, when the New Orleans convention treated us to gumbo, jambalaya and Sazeracs…. for breakfast.

My type of town… before the famous Preservation Hall Jazz Band piped us in with When The Saints Go Marching In, and we did, to the conference.

Where I think I fell asleep. But I will visit

And if you like the Deep South you may want to try out my American Trilogy The Promised Land, The story of the Blues and The King of Kings.

Adventure, Culture, Pilgrimage

Give us this Day: the day Jesus was baptised

You’d be glad of a cool down in the 30C heat of a Jordan May. but Jesus wasn’t complaining.

Today is designated the sacred day when we commemorate The Baptism of the Lord.

It is in truth a little cooler in Jordan than when I went, at 11C but I can’t imagine the Lord was shivering.

So for the day that’s in it let’s take a deeper look into baptisms.

The first question is: where exactly was Jesus baptised.

The Jordanians claimed that he was doused further inland at Al-Maghtas.

Here in ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan’ in what is modern-day Jordan.

The Israelis for their part believe that he was baptised on their banks.

And this is where the Russian Orthodox Christians believe there are healing waters and they go full immersion.

The Jordanians claim Jesus was baptised here

All of which I learned on my G Adventures trip to Jordan last year….,,

While decide for yourself which you think it is…. or like me just soak it all up and maybe sneak some holy water…

So for us Gentiles it’s worth reflecting that of course John, Jesus and all those who were being baptised were all Jews.

And that John though the most famous baptist would not have been the first.

Today at Mass

Ritual immersion had been part and parcel of Jewish culture, or mikvehs for some time.

Jews would ritually immerse themselves for spiritual purity before worshipping.

Washing is, of course, central to the daily and spiritual life of Muslims.

Water of Islam

As I have found out on my trips to Marrakech and Morocco

And more recently in Istanbul and Turkey

And Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina

The boys in the Blue Mosque

It is, of course, a primal act to wash as well as being hygienic.

And you can find it in Sikhism through Amrit Sanskar.

While in Hinduism they like to immerse statues of Durga and Ganesh during the final stages of the festivals Durga Puja and Ganesh Charturthi.

Water of death

And purification is as much part of death as it is a spiritual birth.

A ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam.

For more on this pilgrim’s progress… read, and Fatima in