Category Archives: Odds & Ends

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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New Moon, New Month

The crescent of a new moon is slowly emerging through the darkening sky.  A pale silver at first, now with a bright, almost golden glow.  A waxing new moon.  A middle-aged lady in the flat down the corridor, when I … Continue reading

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Paris, 14 Juillet

We were in Paris this time last year.  I was enjoying the buzz and feeling shortchanged: we don’t have national holidays in England, at least none that carry any kind of historical significance.  No religious holidays except Christmas and Easter, … Continue reading

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Reconnecting

The fountain pen feels heavy in my hand.  I haven’t written for a long time.  I mean written – not typed.  That I do every day, all day.  Click, click.  Irregular, hollow.  I tap the plastic keys, one letter at a … Continue reading

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A Few Thoughts About Lent

As the Dean traced the ash cross on my forehead and said, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.  Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ” and the Cathedral choir sang Allegri’s Miserere, what … Continue reading

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