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Brother Mark is a pseudonym of The Reverend Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler, a clergyman, physician, writer and poet. His biography can be found at: www.robertjaggsfowler.com

Monday, September 14, 2009

Epicurea - Our Holiday Apartment in Cyprus

Newly furnished, our apartment in Cyprus is now available for short vacations or for that longer period to escape the English winter!

Idyllically situated in the traditional village of Pissouri, Epicurea is only five minutes drive from Pissouri Bay, and fifteen minutes from two first class golf courses (Aphrodite Hills and The Secret Valley). Photographs of Epicurea and Pissouri can be found at:

www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/pissouri/100324

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book Review - The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler’s Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Published 2004
Vintage £7.99 ISBN 0 099 46446 2

For doctors who are troubled by the concepts of post viral fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, The Time Traveler’s Wife may present a slight difficulty. However, if the reader suspends disbelief and is prepared to go with the flow, then this book offers an extraordinary tale along the lines of The Time Machine meets Gone With The Wind.

The story is about the relationship between the principal characters, Henry and Clare.

Henry, a librarian, has a rare genetic disorder called Chrono-Impairment. The condition causes him to be repeatedly transported into his past or future, with little warning or control over when it happens or where he goes.

‘It feels exactly like one of those dreams in which you suddenly realise that you have to take a test you haven’t studied for and you aren’t wearing any clothes. And you’ve left your wallet behind.’

For me, that paragraph most aptly portrays the nightmarish condition Henry is subjected to.

As a chrono-displaced person, Henry first meets his future wife, Clare, in a meadow behind her family home, when he is thirty-six and she is six years old. From such a beginning, an extraordinary love story develops and they subsequently marry when Henry is thirty and Clare, now an artist, is twenty-two.

The book charts the complexities of their relationship, with the narrative being alternatively provided by the voices of Henry and Clare as they describe the pain, torment and uncertainty of the unpredictable periods of separation that puts an unfathomable strain on their marriage. The reader is drawn into their story as they relate the desperate quest to find a genetically engineered cure for Henry’s affliction and their heart-rending attempts to have a child.

At first, I found the whole concept disorientating and was left struggling for terms of reference in respect to Henry’s time travel. However, once I stopped referring back to previous chapters, in an attempt to form some type of time-line, and simply accepted each chronological change as stated, then the book became much more enjoyable.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is the first novel by Audrey Niffenegger, herself an artist and a professor of writing in Chicago. The American connection is given away by the spelling of the title. References to various items no doubt familiar to the average American citizen may cause difficulties for many British readers; for example, I still have no idea as to what I would be receiving if I ordered ‘duch wursts and spaetzle’ in a restaurant. However, such references are far enough apart as to avoid causing distraction from the story itself.

I am neither a fan of science fiction or romantic novels. That said, I easily read this over one wet weekend. The success of the tale can be measured by the fact that it sometimes made me laugh aloud, whilst other parts were poignant enough to bring a lump to my throat. It is an extraordinary story, which remains in one’s mind long after the book is finished. I thoroughly recommend it.


Post script:

The film of the book is now in UK cinemas. I saw it last night and found it to be a sound representation of the original book. Normally, I would recommend that a book is read before seeing a film. However, this one does a good job of standing alone on the big screen. Despite being familiar with the story, my emotions were still disrupted as the film progressed, which I guess is a sign of a good tale...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Empty Rhetoric

When Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, I wrote the following poem, based on his own words. I think the verdict is now indeed 'empty rhetoric'!


Choleric Musings
(On the day Gordon Brown became Prime Minister)



‘I have heard the need for change.
…now let the work of change begin.’


Footage of journeys along The Mall;
political metamorphosis by Royal Assent.
Traditional photo-shoot at number 10
of this nation’s primary (Scottish) gent.

‘I remember words…which matter a great deal today:
“I will try my utmost”.’


Forgive a somewhat jaded view
from a veteran of decades past.
Successive governments have promised as much;
will your offerings be the ones to last?

‘I will build a government that uses all the talents.’

Are you capable of bringing stability?
Will your changes be climacteric?
Will patients see improvements they seek?
Are your sound-bites empty rhetoric?


© Copyright 2007 Dr Robert M Jaggs-Fowler

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Magic Flute in Fifty Words

A few years ago I accepted the challenge of describing a named opera in no more than fifty words. It is not an easy task! However, the result is shared below:


The Magic Flute

Romance parallels Masonic ritual.

Through luminary initiation and the assistance of three genii, ophidiophobic, muted, magic-flautist Tamino and lovelorn, tipsy, campanological Papageno rescue suicidal Pamina from the debauched Moor, Monostatos, and unite her with Tamino. Papageno discovers his feathery amour, Papagena; Sarastro is pardoned and the evil Nocturnal Queen banished.


I now challenge you to try your own hand at one!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

A very Happy Easter to you all.

May the Christian spirit of peace, harmony, love, trust and understanding be with you now and for always, whatever faith you profess.

Our World depends on it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Late Lord Slynn of Hadley

The former Law Lord, Lord Slynn of Hadley, died on the 7th April 2009, at the age of 79 years.

Lord Slynn was a lawyer with a vast intellect. Between 1981 and 1988, he was Britain's advocate-general at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, followed by four years of being a judge at the same court. He was elevated to the House of Lords in 1992, where he served the English judiciary for several years, being involved in many difficult cases including the debate over whether General Pinochet should be extradited to Spain to stand trial over alleged crimes of genocide; a decision regarding which, Lord Slynn dissented from the Lord's majority.

Lord Slynn was also a gregarious man with a shrewd sense of humour. He went to great lengths to put those around him at ease, and never lost the opportunity to attend a good cocktail party, where he would be a much sought-after guest.

I first met Lord Slynn when he became the Prior of the Priory of England & the Islands of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. Within a short space of time, and true to his temperament, I was made to feel like a long-standing friend.

He will be sadly missed.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The New-Style Musings of a Literary Doctor

Welcome to the fresh new look for Musings of a Literary Doctor.

All the previous posts are still available. However, after three years of blogging, the style was beggining to look a little dated. So, here we are - a new look, with lots of new posts coming soon!

Don't forget to sign up for automatic updates as new posts are added, and please feel free to add comments. It is good to have a debate on some issues.

Travel with James Tusitala

Following a year of travel writing for www.beabritdifferent.com, I have decided to run with my own travel site.

Travel with James Tusitala can be found at www.travelwithjamestusitala.blogspot.com.

Do come along for the journey...there are plenty of seats on the transport!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Twittering on...

Following a year of blogging distraction, I am about to upgrade this site and rekindle the 'musings'. So watch this space!

Last year's 'distractions' included a regular slot on www.beabritdifferent.com, a travel website expounding all that is best about England for the USA tourist. My posts are still there (all 144 of them), so catch them whilst you may!

The year also saw the publication of my first collection of poetry. A Journey with Time is available through all internet book sellers, or directly from me at a discounted price - just e-mail me and ask!

Meanwhile, 'Musings' has ventured off into Twitterland...still very much the new boy and learning the ropes. However, a few rudimentary 'feeler' posts are out there, and hopefully I will be able to upload a photo soon (a problem with Twitter Bugs - nasty little things!) Anyway, if you are also in Twitterland, do add me in. Just look for 'James Tusitala'