List of Blog Stories

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 switchingContinue 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”

Shannon Hassard

I only cry watching a certain type of movie. It’s when that special someone with the renegade spirit overcomes tremendous adversity to succeed beyond the wildest dreams other mere mortals. I can’t stop it, the tears just flow from my eyes as I witness heroic acts: David overcoming Goliath, Joan of Arc leading the FrenchContinue reading “Shannon Hassard”

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”

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

It all began with a vision that our group of renegade jugglers shared when we purchased 11 acres of raw jungle adjacent to Seaview Estates in March 1987. While my partners focused on developing their careers I managed all the legal, financial and physical realities of our collective. I created two non-profit organisations and learnedContinue reading “Seaview Estates – The S.P.A.C.E. saga Part 1. Planning and construction”

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”

Jim Dyck

“After waking from a brief nap mum realized the bed was wet, and, being naive about her water breaking, she thought she had peed. She was embarrassed to call the nurse, but when she pulled back the sheets I was already on my way. It was a ten minute birth and over before Dr. RiggContinue reading “Jim Dyck”

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”

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”

A Terrible Tragedy – 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 “A Terrible Tragedy – Ted”

Madame Pele in Lower Puna

“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 “Madame Pele in Lower Puna”

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”

My mum and covid

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 “My mum and covid”

Uncle Mark Jeffers

Two humpback whales—a mother and calf—magically appear in a Kauai preschool after ‘migrating’ around the Hawaiian island chain. Each year since 2012, ‘Captain’ Mark Jeffers of Storybook Theatre has toured with the whales visiting nearly thirty schools and reaching over 1,600 preschoolers, as well as their parents and teachers. The program allows children to crawlContinue reading “Uncle Mark Jeffers”

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”

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”

Expats in St. Lucia

“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 “Expats in St. Lucia”

Artist Activist

‘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”

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)”

Mr Bamboo

“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”

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.”

Karolyn and Craig – happy hippy family folk

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 “Karolyn and Craig – happy hippy family folk”

Hawaiian 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 “Hawaiian Honey Guru”

Tapion School

“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”

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)”

The First Cannabis Minister

Reverend Roger Christie “God, that’s great! Please show me the blessings in this situation … and hurry! I am safe, I am loved and all is well.” Sitting in a cell in the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii only four steel doors and three sets of X-ray machines separate you from friends, family andContinue reading “The First Cannabis Minister”

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”

Grandfather of social circus

Reg Bolton As Irene and I pulled a limp and battered Reg to shore, and he lay gasping on the sand like a beached monk seal, I realised that I had very nearly gained international infamy by ending the career of the world leader of social circus. The Hawaiian surf almost wiped out my mentorContinue reading “Grandfather of social circus”

No limits with Clyde

His arms were flaying, his feet were stomping and his body gyrated rhythmically as he danced passionately to the silent reggae music. I was at a St. Lucian ‘jump-up’ and I’d just met Clyde. We quickly became good friends and he became a regular visitor to my home at Tapion School. He was a peaceContinue reading “No limits with Clyde”

Juggling adventurer – Angus

“Alright, first try” exclaimed Ivan. He paused for comedic effect then followed with, “I don’t know how to start”. “We all know how it’ll end,” quipped Dmitri. I was sitting spellbound at the 1979 Vancouver Folk Festival watching the Flying Karamozov Brothers vaudeville juggling troupe. This was their ‘challenge’ act where audience members are invitedContinue reading “Juggling adventurer – Angus”

Butterfly Man -king of buskers

How often do you ever get to see an armed security cop getting beaten with a styrofoam boffer by a baldheaded clown crowned by a butterfly tattoo? It was the Renegade Stage at the 1986 International Juggling Festival, in San Jose, California, and l watched in awe as the disbelieving audience became overwhelmed by tearsContinue reading “Butterfly Man -king of buskers”

Fritz Brehm – Dessert man

According to legend, when granted permission to organise the 1986 European jugglers festival in Castellar de la Frontera, Spain, Fritz Brehm exclaimed, “So, another soap bubble is launched!!!” The location, inside a hilltop Roman castle overlooking the straights of Gibralter, was as bizarre and eccentric as Fritz and his comedic lines. When this fragile dreamContinue reading “Fritz Brehm – Dessert man”

Headmaster John Brown

” Dynamic leader or demonic dictator?” John Brown was the headmaster at the Victorian era school for boys that I attended from 1961 until 1968.  He played a major part in my character development in many ways. As a Methodist minister he broke convention by inviting Budhists monks, rabbi’s, catholic priests and atheists to address ourContinue reading “Headmaster John Brown”

Kibbutz Mis Gav Am

“Is your record player broken?” asked my friend Nigel Burtenshaw as he listened to me playing Dylan’s ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowland’ once too many times. The girl who took my virginity had dumped me a few weeks before and I was grieving so bad I lost my marbles. “I’m going to Israel toContinue reading “Kibbutz Mis Gav Am”

Yehuda “Mookie” Mokades

“Ok you can have £200.” I was trying to get a basketball club going at the City of London Polytechnic and the Student Union accepted my pitch. Next task was to find a coach; and, after calling around, I got a call from some guy with the unlikely name of Mookie who barely spoke EnglishContinue reading “Yehuda “Mookie” Mokades”

Architect Adrian Baron-Robbins

The Caribbean has always attracted pirates, treasure seekers and renegades. Meeting Adrian in 1975 you would never guess he was an architect designing houses for some pretty cool mainstream folks like Henry Kissinger’s director of Protocol. He was part of the alternative ex-pat community that I joined while living in St. Lucia. We gathered bi-weeklyContinue reading “Architect Adrian Baron-Robbins”

South of the Border

“Get your hair cut or you cannot enter our country!”  I stood incredulous at the border trying to enter Guatemala with Carlos when the immigration official with a smirk on his face issued me this ultimatum. It was 1975, my Brazilian friend and I had hitch hiked over 2,000 miles through Mexico. We’d been sleeping prettyContinue reading “South of the Border”

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