As I sit here writing this out I wonder if I am in a real situation or perhaps in a dream. How in fact do I know that I am not in a very vivid dream? I do have experiences that I hold to be dreams and in those dreams the things that happen seem very real.

I walk in a field and hear birds singing. There is a hot sun warming my head and shoulders. Clouds drift across an azure blue sky. I come to a canal and sit on a bench and gaze into the murky water. A barge chugs past. The man at the tiller raises his hand in greeting. I wave back. It is all so real. I feel the sun, I listen to the stream. I acknowledge the bargee.

I take a stroll in the park. There are others in the park also, walking, talking, smoking feeding the ducks. Is this a dream or am I in real time? Which of those experiences is real? Which experience is true−the canal and the bargee or the park and the people in it.

I speak to my friend Mark and we discuss a trip to the cinema. We arrange a time in the future when we will go to watch a film. We sit in the theatre and watch the show unreel. I ask myself is the film real or is it a dream−am I in a real cinema, or am I dreaming I am here?

When I leave the theatre, what happens to the building? I can no longer see it. Does it still exist in time and space or was it all part of the dream, an illusion that I simulated. I have no way of knowing this. Is everything around me an illusion? I have begun to question my own senses. How do I know I even exist?

Many people believe in a supreme being they cannot see or know in any certain way. So if they believe in a god they cannot see or touch or hear, what other experiences are real or imaginary? When I close my eyes I can conjure up all manner of things.

I go to bed at night and fall asleep. I dream I meet my brother, Joe, who died some years ago. In the dream we go fishing and afterwards walk to the pub for a beer. Who was that person we buried in the earth? Did I dream that? Is the real Joe a cadaver being eaten by worms or is that Joe who walks in my dreams? I prefer the one in my dreams.

So is everything around me an illusion−a figment of my imagination. I do not really exist but have somehow managed to create this world, filled with friends and acquaintances and my family. My life is but a dream and I can dream up whatever I want only, perhaps my imagination is restricted in some way. I believe I must be flawed in some way for this life I have manufactured is not an ideal place.

Perhaps we are still in a turmoil of evolution and are but a bundle of primitive impulses; neither one thing nor the other, hovering between hallucination and a being of substance. Maybe when we evolve sufficiently we will be able to dream and live in the ideal world as we would like it to be. No more disease, no more death, no more wars.

I shall end this rumination with a quote by Mark Twain.

Philosophers have already cast much obscurity on this subject and if they continue their investigations we shall soon know nothing at all about it.

Or to put it more succinctly: Just when you think tomorrow will never come, it’s yesterday.


gun barrelmy latest western GUN BARREL JUSTICE is out now at BLACK HORSE . Read the blurb on the home page. The black and white image is a mock-up composed by my son Jon to whet your appetite for the real thing which is now up and to be viewed on the home page.



When his cousin persuaded him to visit a Boston whorehouse Mathew Hood had no idea of the life-changing events that would pitch him into the midst of the Civil War. In a miscarriage of justice Mathew was sentenced to hang. He fought his way to freedom. As an outlaw on the run he had to make a choice. Face the hangman’s noose or join the army. There was only one army that would take him and not turn him over to the authorities. It was 1861 and the Southern States were preparing for war. Mathew signed up with the Confederate Army.
Hated for his northern roots by some of the Confederate soldiers, Mathew had to watch for enemies in his own ranks even as he fought against the Federal Army at the bloody Battle of Bull Run.



cowboys-31646_640[1]In BROTHERS IN ARMS the protagonists Butch Shilton and Joe Peters are engaged in a constant battle to stay out of prison and even more importantly in trying to stay alive. They are up against a gang of ruthless killers and every man’s hand is against them. They stumble from one crisis to the next. Can they survive against such odds. It is touch and go all the way through this action packed adventure.





Deadly Doings in UlsterTONE DEATH is like no other crime thriller you have read. Private Investigator Theobald Tone has to cope with the ruthless underworld of Ulster criminals. Hardened by decades of war there is no atrocity too outrageous for these brutes. Casual torture, beatings, maiming and killing is second nature to these depraved villains. You might have heard of the SHANKILL ROAD BUTCHERS well meet their kin in the pages of this book.