Some time ago I decided we had far too many books so I started giving them away in the street.   I found myself judging which book to give to which passer-by and I quickly came to the conclusion that this was at best risky and at worst patronising.   Then came the time when a woman and a man turned me down and I decided to call it a day.   In future … anonymous giving.

The centre of Otley is the market square and at one corner is The Buttercross … a group of three comfortably solid wooden benches protected by a roof, so called because it used to be the corner occupied by butter traders.   The name also appears in the Otley women’s folk dancers – the Buttercross Belles.   There are usually people sitting there. I took to sitting there until I spotted a moment when I could get up and surreptitiously leave a book behind.   I noticed that, whenever I checked, the book had gone.   I liked the anonymity of giver and receiver.   In India it’s known as invisible giving.    

It has gradually evolved: I now leave, one at a time, magazines, cd’s, dvd’s, a glass I’ve painted with a candle in, and most recently a card – with an illustration, often a print of mine, on one side and on the other an insightful quotation or a poem … the most recent being John Keats’ Bright Star sonnet. I’ve created a document of poems and quotes.   Examples:


All my work, my life, everything I do is about survival: not just bare, awful, plodding survival, but survival with grace and faith.   While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014)


I will not say ‘pray’ because there is no God to pray to … My word for ‘prayer’ is ‘love’ … Love is not for some invisible God.   Love is for the visible – human beings, animals, trees, oceans, mountains.   Spread your wings of love as far and wide as you can.   And remember – love needs no belief system … love is something intrinsic to you … nothing imposed from outside … It is your human potential.

 Osho (1931-90)


The beginning of freedom is the realisation that you are not ‘the thinker’.   The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.   You then begin to realise that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence.   You may also realise that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind.   You begin to awaken.  

(Eckhart Tolle b.1948)


Morality’s pretty simple really: we all know what to do less of, what to do more of.

In an ideal world people will do what they want to want to do.   (sic)

Dying is a mere interruption.

from Life and Soul (John Hendry b. 1943)


A couple of my illustrations I put on cards:

I also have three other sets of benches open to the elements so they depend on the weather.   I carry a piece of blue-tack for when it’s breezy.  Careful to preserve anonymity I also leave cards under beer mats in pubs, and in supermarket shelves and trolleys.







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