List of Blog Stories

All our lives are but a story and everyone has one.

Smugglers tales – U.K.

Five and twenty ponies, trotting through the dark, Brandy for the parson, baccy for the clerk, Laces for a lady, papers for a spy, So watch the wall my darling, while the gentlemen go by. When Rudyard Kipling wrote those words in 1906, the ‘gentlemen’ were smugglers and he was thinking of Sussex, my presentContinue reading “Smugglers tales – U.K.”

Jim Albertini – Hawaii Activist

“War is the most unsustainable thing that human beings do, and we do it a lot. If you look underneath the surface, you’ll find that without our current, exploitative, growth-imperative global economy, war would be obsolete. We must end this madness.” Among the many activists who live on the Big Island of Hawaii Jim’s reputationContinue reading “Jim Albertini – Hawaii Activist”

Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance

  “No administration or commission alone can build a community, it can only happen through respectful and responsible dialogue with neighborhood stakeholders. County employees time and taxpayers money is currently being spent on building obstacles for community organizations engaged in sustainable living research and providing valuable community services and the aim of HSCA is toContinue reading “Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance”

DLNR controversy

“To live cohesively is almost a fantasy and we ought to know it starts with humbling our egos.” —Nahko Bear Following my last story of Seaview Estates, Kealoha Ward commented on Facebook that I left out an important part of the history, “Because Graham doesn’t want people to know he is often a full onContinue reading “DLNR controversy”

Extinction Rebellion or Extinction?

“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.” – Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. While responsibility for fossil fuel impacts on climate change falls fairly on oil companies and governments, and recent campaigns by XR have calledContinue reading “Extinction Rebellion or Extinction?”

HICCUP educational philosophy

I arrived in Hawaii as an enthusiastic but frustrated educator unable to surrender to the bureaucratic craziness of the standard school system. Following my brief experiences as an elementary school principal and community organiser in St. Lucia and then a short flirtation producing Macnut butter I accepted my personal life assignment was to find alternativeContinue reading “HICCUP educational philosophy”

A Social Circus vision

“Vision without action is a daydream and action without vision is a nightmare.” proclaims an ancient Japanese Proverb. My circus career taught me how “action WITH vision can also become a nightmare.” As the HICCUP ringleader I travelled a rocky path turning my vision from a dream into a reality with a mission “to promoteContinue reading “A Social Circus vision”

HICCUP circus shows – ‘Naturally High’

“It’s the best I’ve seen – not preachy.” “The students loved every minute of it, the combination of drama, music, dance and stunts was an excellent idea.”  “It’s a positive, strong message when kids, not adults, deliver the wisdom.”  “An all kid show—how refreshing!” “This is the best drug prevention assembly I’ve attended. Keep up the great work!”Continue reading “HICCUP circus shows – ‘Naturally High’”

S.P.A.C.E. Farmers Market

“Once upon a time there was the most amazing farmers market on the planet!! I went every Saturday for years. I always met new people, dialed in with my neighbors and looked forward to this weekly gathering. So much beauty within our lovely community. These were such magical days in lower Puna!!! “ Nicole LeshContinue reading “S.P.A.C.E. Farmers Market”

HICCUP circus on parade

The HICCUP circus won first place awards in almost every parade we did on the Big Island. In the Pahoa Winter parade our contingent just kept growing larger and larger every year. We had more and more mothers, siblings, aunts and uncles and even dads joining in the fun. We had our regular loyal facepaintersContinue reading “HICCUP circus on parade”

Seaview Resident – Pat Rocco

“Graham has one major fault—he’s dedicated to bringing people together and helping them achieve being the best that they can be. In doing this, his unending energy forces him to make decisions that result in skirting some rules in order to reach the greater good of human achievements. In other words, humanitarian achievements come first.”Continue reading “Seaview Resident – Pat Rocco”

Seaview Resident – Joe Hoffman

He once described himself as, “a very serious young man, rebel of the public school system and all around skeptic.” After graduating in Montana he became a formidable pipelayer/operator of heavy equipment and then a tradesman. While he enjoyed the raw simplicity of physical work he remained unsatisfied. He said the “school of hard knocks”Continue reading “Seaview Resident – Joe Hoffman”

Renegade jungalow builders

“The pervading attitude is we are a group of renegades. Always feeling a bit of an outlaw, I have no problem with that word or in living with a bunch of renegades.” announced Alexis in 1993. I’m inclined to think that she feels quite differently about his today. Time changes people ! We founded theContinue reading “Renegade jungalow builders”

Homestead Builder

“We shape our buildings: Thereafter, they shape us.” -Winston Churchill “If you build it, they will come.”  –Field of Dreams. The first structure I ever built, in August 1988 was the shell of a very rustic community kitchen on the assumption that it would serve us until we built something permanent. I located it tucked awayContinue reading “Homestead Builder”

S.P.A.C.E. builders

“The Seaview Performing Arts Centre for Education will always be much more than the sum of the materials that were used to build it.” Paddy Daly Phase Two of our S.P.A.C.E. construction project was the grand pavilion—a state-of-the-art Polynesian-style multi-purpose center with bathrooms, storage, and offices. We were working on a very tight budget, withContinue reading “S.P.A.C.E. builders”

Circus artwork by John Keeler

What’s a circus without colour? We have been most fortunate that costumes and clothes, props and posters, stage sets and signs, buildings and banners and even vehicles have been the canvas for the artwork of John Keeler. Luckily, unlike most artists, he didn’t need surfaces to be flat and could paint pretty much anything. JohnContinue reading “Circus artwork by John Keeler”

Bellyacres – Interns

“I started by cutting, cooking, dehydrating and making flour out of breadfruit, then burned my hands and face with ghost pepper residue as I cleaned out the dehydrator. Once recovered from that trauma, I helped construct a new solar panel roof and almost fell to my death from an unstable ladder. The next day IContinue reading “Bellyacres – Interns”

Dave Finnigan – My juggling guru

“He’s cheapened the art”, “His products are mediocre”, “How dare he share our skills with everyone” argued the detractors of Dave’s controversial movement to popularise juggling. Who ever knew that professional and expert jugglers would feel threatened by an academic novice juggler on a mission to spread the joy of juggling with the world? KnownContinue reading “Dave Finnigan – My juggling guru”

Living a sustainable lifestyle

I have to admit I’m struggling. Life here in the U.K. is relatively easy compared to Hawaii but it’s so far from sustainable, it’s scary! Most of the population continue living like the party will never end. They listen to the government rhetoric about climate change trusting everything will be taken care of while beingContinue reading “Living a sustainable lifestyle”

Veterans Day

Guest Blog by Dena Ellis Today I salute all American veterans for putting their lives on the line for the dream of freedom.  But that dream has become a nightmare for many. Shackled to student loans, mortgages, credit card payments, crippling medical bills, and the never ending plethora of enticing products and services seductively lapdancingContinue reading “Veterans Day”

Kupuna – Auntie Emily

It was late July, I was struggling to breathe, feverish and fatigued. Covid had hit me hard. I barely got out of bed for three weeks and was too exhausted to communicate much with anyone. The phone rang and somehow I found the energy and inspiration to answer. It was Kupuna Auntie Emily calling fromContinue reading “Kupuna – Auntie Emily”

9/11 – I Will Never Forget

A guest blog post by Dena Smith Ellis 20 Years 💝 I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Like most people, I still remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was working as a telecommunications operator at Commerce Insurance Company in Webster, Massachusetts. It was one of three jobsContinue reading “9/11 – I Will Never Forget”

Romantic love – Julie

Bathed in the glowing of your letter  My smile won’t go  Tears start  Smile grows  I clutch my pen and my fingers play my lips  They assure themselves  Yes this is me, yes this is she  Mon couer  I am such a romantic, it would sicken most  Graham, much fear I have  Am I soContinue reading “Romantic love – Julie”

Seaview Estates-The S.P.A.C.E. saga Part 3 – Cease and Desist

The ‘War against S.P.A.C.E.’ was waged by Scott Wills and a mere handful of residents who made persistent pernicious complaints with the County Planning Department. They destroyed a beautiful manifestation of a social circus vision that had been evolving since 1987. Scott only lived on Seaview Estates for a little over three years yet hisContinue reading “Seaview Estates-The S.P.A.C.E. saga Part 3 – Cease and Desist”

Seaview Estates-The S.P.A.C.E. saga Part 2 Community building

The opening of S.P.A.C.E. in November 2007 happened at the worst possible time for organizations like ours but the silver lining was that it forced us to become less financially dependent upon private donations and grant funding. The financial crisis caused us to abandon the business plan we had created in 2000 and pursue strictlyContinue reading “Seaview Estates-The S.P.A.C.E. saga Part 2 Community building”

Trumped and Dumped

Living without legal documentation in Hawaii for 36 years was not an easy or comfortable reality for me. I exhausted many efforts to rectify the situation over the years but each lawyer I consulted told me it was futile due to a loophole in the system that I was stuck in. As a result, myContinue reading “Trumped and Dumped”

Immigration Man

“Won’t you let me in, immigration man – I won’t toe your line today – I can’t see it anyway – Here I am with my immigration form – It’s big enough to keep me warm when a cold wind’s coming – So go where you will as long as you think you can –Continue reading “Immigration Man”

Children in Care – Larry

(Larry’s name has been changed.) £1,200,000 ($1,630,000) is a lot of money. It’s the cost of four average homes in the U.K. or four years at University for thirty three students or the amount needed to support a family of four for 26 years. It’s also how much one Local Authority has spent to provideContinue reading “Children in Care – Larry”

Seaview Estates – The S.P.A.C.E. saga Part 1- Planning and construction

It all began with the vision that our juggling group shared when we purchased Bellyacres in 1987. I understood that founding our two tax exempt organizations imposed a moral duty to serve our local community. My approach to fulfilling this obligation was the creation of a performance arts facility and organising twenty-five years of HICCUPContinue reading “Seaview Estates – The S.P.A.C.E. saga Part 1- Planning and construction”

Ringmaster Tristan Graham

“Gooday, mate!” I heard as a young lad strode brashly up the steps of my house. Ordained with hippie dreadlocks, a didgeerie doo, and a bursting backpack he wore a big broad smile. Offering his hand with a solid shake Tristan, from way down under, made his grand entrance. I had a habit of rejectingContinue reading “Ringmaster Tristan Graham”

Drunk driver victim – Ted

Our Bellyacres community kitchen holds lots of stories. Interesting characters of all sexes and ages have eaten at the rustic table, sat on the broken couches and sung along with tunes played on battered guitars. Ted arrived in the fall of 2007 and graced our lives with his youthful spirit for less than four yearsContinue reading “Drunk driver victim – Ted”

Lava flows in Puna- Hawaii

“In the secret hour before dawn half naked figures appear in the shadows. Flickering flames light their faces. Their skin glows with an eerie red light as they dip the tips of sticks into a primordial river of fire, igniting them. Then, twirling their flaming torches in wild rhythm, they paint streaks of bright lightContinue reading “Lava flows in Puna- Hawaii”

Birth of a Workers Co-operative

Following a five thousand mile trip from the Caribbean, Martin and I arrived in Victoria, British Colombia. Fresh off the ferry, we drove our little blue bug Gertie directly to a friend’s house were we crashed until we discovered 1280 Walnut Street. Two eligible bright British blokes were apparently a good fit for the alluringContinue reading “Birth of a Workers Co-operative”

Summer Camp Psychodrama

Journal Entry – August 10th 1975: After last nights horrific events, I’ve finally decided that I need to blow the whistle on this insanity. I spoke privately—in whispers—to Greg, Deb, Liz and Joe. I told them I was going to the sheriff but I was worried he wouldn’t believe me after his recent visit andContinue reading “Summer Camp Psychodrama”

Mr Renegade Juggling

The crowd was roaring – a real belly aching laughter, the kind that hurts your gut. On stage the street performer was beating the security guard mercilessly, but harmlessly, with a styrofoam sword. It was 1986 and I was at the 39th International Jugglers Festival in San Jose, California where the Butterfly Man was climaxingContinue reading “Mr Renegade Juggling”

Covid and my mum

My mum turns ninety years old on March 21st and the big family reunion party we had planned has become another COVID casualty – although it won’t show on the government statistics. Mum’s taking it all really well, but this virus year has been a huge test of her resilience. She’s been totally confined toContinue reading “Covid and my mum”

Cheryl, Cayenne and Carla

In the U.S.A. well over half of all mothers are single – double the amount in the U.K. – and the number is rising. This percentage is even higher on the Big Island of Hawaii where I lived with three separate families headed by super empowered single moms. I’ve loved the children of all myContinue reading “Cheryl, Cayenne and Carla”

Deva – the divine

Lower Puna was an amazing place to live and I feel really fortunate to have moved to live in Kapoho in 1984. I became part of a hippie/rainbow family/Grateful Dead inspired tribe who taught me much about permaculture, guerrilla growing, eco and off grid living, love and life and new age values. We were aContinue reading “Deva – the divine”

St. Lucia expat – Martin

“You need to meet Martin” said headteacher Sue after I completed a few days teaching at St Lucia’s Tapion school. So, I called this bloke and discovered his wife Alison and daughter Naomi were away in England. He invited me to his plantation style house, overlooking beautiful Rodney Bay, and was snoring on the couchContinue reading “St. Lucia expat – Martin”

Artist Activist – Tomas Belsky

‘Twasn’t Merely Happenstance Nor Chance These Two Poets Crossed Life Paths Belsky and Vance The Traveler, A Mid-Age Tex-Georgia Fellow The Elder, A Sage New Jersey Aloha’n Belsky Bellowed A Hilo, HI Hello Vance, The Younger, Performed Mic-Free Filled With Big City Hunger, He Spewed Sonic Almost-Ebonics Bought Belsky’s Beautiful Book About This “Upside Down”Continue reading “Artist Activist – Tomas Belsky”

Monkeyman – Benji Marantz

Walking through downtown Waikiki in Honolulu, one balmy tropical evening, I was drawn like a moth to the crowd circling a Burger King joint. I discovered they weren’t there looking for a big whopper deal when a blaze of fire burst above their heads. It was a street performer and as I elbowed my wayContinue reading “Monkeyman – Benji Marantz”

A child of the ’60’s

What is your idea of a dream music concert? As a British teen in 1965 mine would have been something like this: First, I’d book the Rolling Stones performing some rhythm and blues favourites like “Pain in My Heart” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.” I’d also invite some other contemporary bands like the Moody Blues, GeorgieContinue reading “A child of the ’60’s”

Stanley the Clown (aka Don)

The party was peaking and the dancing was wild when the clown in the middle casually smiled exposing what looked like a tiny dragon wriggling on his tongue. Stanley’s mouth quickly closed again leaving his audience staring in disbelief. What was that we all wondered? It couldn’t possibly be a real live creature, or couldContinue reading “Stanley the Clown (aka Don)”

Rock Star – Bobby D

If there was an award for the person who has attended the most parties on the Hawaiian islands over the last forty years I guarantee my friend Bobby D would win hands down. I spent one Thanksgiving day with him and we visited three separate celebrations while, on any regular weekend, he’s likely to beContinue reading “Rock Star – Bobby D”

Mr Bamboo – Leimana Pelton

“Did you see that coast guard helicopter cruising the surfline?” said Leimana as he carried his board up the beach. Henrik and Slump, who’d been in the water with him, were humbled. They’d started the surf session with Leimana but the Hawaiian waves had totally worn them both out. Then, after waiting more that twoContinue reading “Mr Bamboo – Leimana Pelton”

Albert Bennett and Sons Ltd.

When Alan Bennett died on Halloween Night my mum’s shrinking circle of family and close friends took a big hit. He was mum’s nearest and dearest cousin, and we visited him often. Alan introduced my mum to my dad when she was thirteen and has been constantly in her life. Due to Covid19 my mumContinue reading “Albert Bennett and Sons Ltd.”

Happy hippy family folk – Karolyn and Craig

“It’s the largest and best coordinated nonpolitical, nondenominational, nonorganization of like-minded individuals on the planet.” The Rainbow Family Gathering blew my mind, first in West Virginia and then in Washington State. It’s an annual hippy gathering that’s been happening since Woodstock. It’s values are love, peace, non-violence, environmentalism, non-consumerism, non-commercialism, volunteerism, respect for others andContinue reading “Happy hippy family folk – Karolyn and Craig”

Volcano Island Honey Guru

Can honey make the world a better place? If I was asked that question before living on the Big Island I would most likely have replied “what drugs are you taking?” Since then I’ve witnessed the work of my friend Richard with his Volcano Island Honey Company and seen how the hippy values of aContinue reading “Volcano Island Honey Guru”

Tapion School – St. Lucia

“Tremble, shake, shake. I wonder what that new teacher is like? Nothing to worry about he’s a harmless old English sheepdog……. From that first day we have been perfect friends and together we do lots of things like going on hikes, and camping and we climbed the Pitons together and the school has benefited fromContinue reading “Tapion School – St. Lucia”

Haystack (aka Chainsaw)

Fun permeated our whole world in Hawaii’s Volcano Circus. At an early potluck dinner in our rustic kitchen, a young hippy girl introduced herself to one of our members saying “Hi, I’m Rainbow Starchild and this is my sister, Dolphin Crystal. Who are you?” He didn’t miss a beat and replied, “I’m Chainsaw. Good meetingContinue reading “Haystack (aka Chainsaw)”

Henrik Bothe (aka Neonman)

By the time I realised the whirlpool had taken control of my kayak I was flapping in the frigid ice cold water. I quickly bobbed to the surface like a seal gasping for air. A vice grip hand reached out, grabbed me and helped me crawl back aboard. My hero was Henrik and there’s no-oneContinue reading “Henrik Bothe (aka Neonman)”

Wilbur, Ricky and two jackasses

All four were wearisome, weak and often rather wobbly. At 27 and 29 years old Wilbur and Ricky were far from the typical getaway horses real outlaws would ride. Yet, apparently that was how they were perceived by a certain couple of pathetic local ‘Punatics’. While that term is commonly used around the Big IslandContinue reading “Wilbur, Ricky and two jackasses”

Seaview Estates – neighbours

Pistol shots rang out in the moonlit night. Aimed at the truck, they ricocheted and it was later claimed they grazed the head of a young joy rider. It had been a mellow Sunday in rural Seaview until the raucous reveller and his friends began driving doughnuts, loudly and aggressively, scarring deep ruts in theContinue reading “Seaview Estates – neighbours”

Hawaiian Activist – Moani Akaka

She was small in stature but mighty in spirit. Her passionate and poignant speeches brought tears of rage, inspiring her audiences to action. She totally exemplified Rosa Parks’ belief that ‘it is better to protest than to accept injustice’. In the struggle for Hawaiian Rights, few, if any, have fought longer and harder than Moanike’alaContinue reading “Hawaiian Activist – Moani Akaka”

Beatles first sound engineer

Adrian Barber “I nearly died that day,” shouted Adrian, with anger in his voice and a finger pointed to the chairman. He was testifying at a public meeting before the Environmental Protection Agency who were considering a new geothermal drilling permit application in lower Puna, Hawaii. Adrian described how he was working in a shedContinue reading “Beatles first sound engineer”

1000 Days at Sea – Reid Stowe

“We’re departing on a circumnavigation trip really soon, wanna join us?” my mate Reid was calling me in Hawaii. After hoping for this opportunity for years, I dropped everything – my girlfriend, my house, my work, my friends – and flew off, eager for the trip of a lifetime. It was late February 1986 when IContinue reading “1000 Days at Sea – Reid Stowe”


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