Her name was Andromache, she was beautiful and strong like a real woman should be and used to be. Her hair was long, thick, dark and would blow in the wind like the sails of a ship blowing on the seas. Her skinned was smoothed with exotic oils and the finest luxury care that could be afforded. Andromache was tall, refined, stunning and every bit the Greek looking goddess she was meant to be. Her life was a life of a Greek queen. She was worshiped as she should and would also worship the man that would give his very last breath for her. Her man was the kind of man we mostly no longer make. He was a real man, a warrior man, strong, proud, defiant and loving. Nothing could touch him, nothing could affect him, nothing could break his love for his wife. His name was Hector. Yet here I was sitting in a Museum in Manchester across the small, aged leather sofa looking and studying a painting by Frederic Lord Leighton, 1888, at the Manchester City Art Galleries. It’s a ancient Greek looking scene. There are 15 women in the line all waiting to get water from the well. All the women look happy going along their regular business. There are 6 in front of Andromache and 8 behind her. There is a gap, Andromache stands out, it’s clear she has fallen and feels alien where she is. They all notice her, how can they fail to. She was the wife of Hector. Hector now lay dead killed by Achilles and left rotting with the dead of battle, for the birds to devour. She looked sad in the scene yet as I spent 20 minutes studying the painting I couldn’t help myself getting into her brain, her mind, her life at that point. You see one of the first things they did in these days to captives (if they let them live) would be to re-condition them into the new society they had been taken back to. They would have to go back to school, learn the culture, learn the language, learn the currency, learn the history. If they didn’t they would die, it was that simple. Conditioning was the key to their survival. As I looked at the paining and looked at Andromache I wondered for a minute. She was the wife or a warrior, a real, a true man. The kind of man that lived his word and rarely failed to deliver. It was in them, they understood how to be men in those times. She knew that. His last breath was for her. He would lie dying on the battle field repeating and repeating her name, time and time again until he passed into his underworld. She will have lived with her man until his death. Nothing would sway her, her loyalty as a real woman, loyal, loving the kind of lover of the truest kind would never sway away from her warrior man. Yet there she was on the painting being institution by a society that just wanted her to play the rules or lose her life! Did she play the rules, did she not play them I have no idea? I do know this, her loyalty to her man will not have been bought for any price. These thoughts brought me right back to the moment I was sitting, looking and observing. It made me think about society, forced me to review the busy streets outside on my walk over to the Gallery, the busy, rushing about people that have unwittingly been forced into playing the rules, doing what they have been told, playing the game of life as designed by the machines that desire nothing more than to control people. And do most of them look happy? Not the guy that pushed me into the road while using his mobile phone. Not the guy that beeped his car and rushed to his next appointment in his car. Not the tired looking faces of those that have been forced into 21st century slavery with the promise of dreamlike prizes if they behave, do as they are told and conform. I just wonder how many real men like Hector were on that street. The type of man that knows, he doesn’t have to be spoon fed or controlled or strung along by a selfless face of nothingness called society. I wondered how many Andromache women were out there. The kind of woman that can deliver loyalty, love and fierce lioness unselfish tenancies for what they know as the truth. The kind of real women that will die and happily deliver their final breath in the arms of their real man. Not many, hardly any, very rare and I have yet to meet a woman like that or a real man for that fact! Because the reality is as free as we might think we are most of us are caught in a preset cycle that was at one time set by another person with a great idea of what will be best for mankind. For example we are told that our happiness is always tied into a future event. The future event could be… When I get that house When I get that car When I get that holiday When I get that partner When I get more cash in the bank Think about it. No I said think about it. That means you are only going to be happy when? The answer is in the future… or so they say, those that have made most of mankind into grey droid-like drones with dark rings under their eyes dreaming and hoping the future will make them happy. Hector and Andromache and people like thm are happy and fulfilled because they know, they truly understood how to be in the moment. So what about you? Are you like Hector, strong, defined, knowing and faithful to the very end? Are you like Andromache, loyal, loving, guarding and knowing until your final day? My observations will say these type of people, real people are probably one of the rarest breeds on Earth today, almost extinct. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way for you. You can be more than what you have been told. You can smash through the boundaries, the restrictions and conditioning handed down by decades of robot like yes men and women that play the game of chasing happiness. Interesting going back the painting. Andromache went from queen to slave. I believe you can go from slave to being the queen, the king the master of your self. Just a though, a passing thought as I suit in Manchester Gallery of art thinking about the real power of real men and real women. Which are you?