Category Archives: Odds & Ends

The Feast of Saint Catherine

The elderly mother of a close friend sends me nameday good wishes every 25th November, and I thank her for her attentiveness. My mother once told me which Saint Catherine I had been dedicated to at birth, but I have … Continue reading

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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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