Category Archives: Odds & Ends

A Necklace of Words

1. Sfumatura (Italian): a shade, a nuance, but I love the sound of the word fumo (smoke) that forms it. A graduation in colour that’s as subtle as smoke; its very sound evokes a swirl of gossamer.  Close your eyes … Continue reading

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I Want to Live Among People with Salt

Grey outside; on my improvised worktop, red, green, white and gold. Murky, rainy, chilly, gloomy.  An early autumn. But not with the wistful charm of Johnny Mercer’s lyrics.  Not like the entrance of a Jerry Herman heroine, who swoops down … Continue reading

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Searching for LouLou

I’ve always prided myself on not being influenced by commercials. As a girl, I made many of my own clothes, summer dresses and skirts especially, and would tweak the model, so it would be slightly different from the pictures in … Continue reading

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My Work Space

I spend my days at a 60 x 60 cm table with a laminated beech surface and folding steel legs.  It’s an exam desk, really, the kind I sat my school exams at, with a groove for pens. I couldn’t … Continue reading

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Evening Prayer Before Lockdown

I went to evening prayer the night before this second lockdown began. I’ve always loved choral evensong.  The first one I ever heard, in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, in early Michaelmas Term 1984, made such a life-changing impression … Continue reading

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My Citrine Quartz Ring

My friend F. gave me a ring two summers ago. Even elegant Autumn stomped in this year, perhaps sensing that subtlety was wasted on us.  The bay tree on our balcony is waterlogged, the French windows are streaked with rain, … Continue reading

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A Red Hair Drier

I threw away a hair drier last week.  It had been lying around for weeks while I tried to find someone to fix it.  The prospect of throwing it away made me sad.  I haven’t used a hair drier for … Continue reading

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Through a Zoom Lens*

My favourite thing after I wake up in the morning is to step out on the balcony outside my study and stand beneath the vast expanse of the East Anglian skies.  The pigeons are generally sitting on the railings or … Continue reading

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Translation as a Dance

A little something I wrote for the Italian Institute of Culture in London website, kindly republished by the Los Angeles Review of Books: https://lareviewofbooks.org/short-takes/translation-as-a-dance

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A Story My Grandfather Used To Tell My Mother…

My mother used to tell me a story which her father would tell her. My grandfather was Iranian (half Azerbaidjani, haf Turkmenistani), and this may be a Sufi tale… When Noah was gathering all the animals onto his Ark, and … Continue reading

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