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First

First! That describes where I am in my effort to write. I have thought about writing for years. I have constructed my "Castles" in the air but have never had the courage to put them to pen and paper. In this case it's putting words to bits, bytes and "words" in the geek sense (you would have to belong my generation to understand that definition).  Snippets of stories, rants, despair, elation, suprise, all of these I have wanted to express but never thought I could put them down. Now that I have started it will be interesting to see...

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Smoking Is An Illness Not a Bad Habit

You know exactly when and where you started smoking, who you were with,  and why you did it. The characters and motivation that got you into it are gone but the habit is still with you years and years later. You are probably one of the many smokers who paradoxically hate smoking. Your daily life is punctuated by brief periods of habitual smoke inhalation, each lungful carrying with it a twinge of conscience. Perhaps you maintain a fiction that each pack of cigarettes you buy will be your last.  Does all this all sound very familiar? No matter how many you smoke a day you need to understand you can get off them,...

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Walking Through Wexford Town

Reflecting on life from a height of 37,000 feet, sipping a glass of Chardonnay wine, watching the good Earth's colour, mood and rugged terrain change is a miracle and blessing I cherish every time I fly, and this time was no different. Looking out with wonder along the distant horizon to a fabulous pale blue and orange red sunset. Marvelling at the starry dark blue vastness of space above.  Watching the Sun's last rays play on wispy cloudtops floating serenely far below; brilliant white turning pale yellow then to a rich dark red fading though shades of bluish grey into the dusk.  Like no other place between heaven and earth here was peace, perspective,...

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The Lost Battalion

At the age of eighteen, just before the outbreak of the second world war, my father left his village home in the Ukraine to study agronomy at a  Moscow agricultural institute.  He was doing well and spoke with pride about his achievements, about his hopes and dreams for the future he might have had.  But it was not to be.  Despite the non-aggression pact signed by Hitler and Stalin in 1939 a nervous Soviet military knew full well war was coming; On June 22 1941 the Germans launched operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union with 4,500,000 axis soldiers on a front from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Twenty million souls were to be torn from their bodies by the time the Nazis were beaten back, kilometre by bloody kilometre, and defeated.   Father and thousands like him were conscripted from universities and colleges, he was trained as a junior officer then sent to fight on the north west front.  Starvation and survival were to become his two constant companions in the midst of a savage,...

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