The Bad-tempered Cleaning Company

Many of us have an activity or two in life that transforms us. We change from generally likeable, easy-going types in cardigans, into red eyed gremlins, waving pitchforks. For some, it's the supermarket shop, for others, driving (I know a clutch of normally gentle, mild-mannered people in the latter group). Whatever our intentions beforehand, the … Continue reading The Bad-tempered Cleaning Company

The Colour of Snow

"What colour is snow?" The child had topaz coloured eyes and dimpled cheeks like punched dough. "Well," I looked down at him, puzzled, wondering if the cold had turned his head. Building snowmen on the field with thirty nine and ten year olds had pretty much turned mine, but I didn't want to be rude. … Continue reading The Colour of Snow

The eye (and ear) of the beholder

"...If you listen carefully, the earth is singing." I swung round sharply. The two girls nearly crashed into me, their hands cradling petri-dishes filled with wood lice, ants and  a fat snail with a shell crisis. I had one of those rare moments of tenderness. "That's beautiful," I said, "Really beautiful!" They looked up at … Continue reading The eye (and ear) of the beholder

One Moment One Christmas

It feels like it happened yesterday. Though in fact it's fifty Christmases since we were in our little house by the sea. Funny how the intense impressions of youth are saved forever on your hard-drive, whereas why you came to the Post Office remains a mystery. The kind Indian man has eyes that twinkle as … Continue reading One Moment One Christmas

Prayer, Advent and Latin Verbs

Call me sad but I loved Latin verbs. At an all-girls school, stuffed with hormones and self-obsession (I levelled out but have recently declined again - for obvious reasons), Latin verbs were immensely comforting. Like the shipping forecast , there was a predictability, a rhythmic quality to the conjugations that soothed you, suspended time and … Continue reading Prayer, Advent and Latin Verbs