Category Archives: Odds & Ends

The Polish Woman on the Bus

The emotional memory of that day is much stronger than the memory of the event’s details.    It was 1981 and I was coming home from school on the bus.  I was sixteen.  Without a word, she presented a card … Continue reading

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Just a Five-Pound Teapot

I bought the teapot in Boots.  White with blue and yellow flowers.   Back when there was a Boots in Sidney Street. When they still sold a few household goods and stationery.  I paid about five pounds for it.  I … Continue reading

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New Year’s Eve

A tower of books is rising in the corridor, taller, wonkier by the minute, until it comes tumbling down.  I scoop the books into several plastic bags.  They’re going to Oxfam.  Books I no longer like.  Books I don’t care … Continue reading

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Yuletide

There are things you can’t tell other people – or only just a few people, perhaps: that you love the time of year when nights are long.  That you long for the moment, at around four o’clock, when you watch the … Continue reading

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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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