The lad in the chemist was polite. He inclined his head and nodded with understanding, but clearly felt obliged to invoke the rule book. "Madam, you know you can buy them over the counter," he remarked, motioning grandly towards the racks of pills and potions behind me. "Well, yes I know," I replied, "It's just...my … Continue reading In praise of literalism
"...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
So it wasn't the best weather, and it wasn't the best place. The windscreen wipers squeaked double-time all the way there and there was rain on and off all week. It was cold. The upstairs shower didn't work and the toilets were dodgy. The roof in the conservatory leaked in three places and the smoke … Continue reading A lifetime of holidays and I’m still learning…
I am one of those people who sometimes puts things down and can't find them again - lesson plans, cheques, small children. I once left my son in the meat aisle in a supermarket while I popped round the corner for salad, then couldn't remember which meat aisle (Chicken? Beef? Delicatessen?) He turned up eventually, … Continue reading Things I’ve lost and the art of growing down
I've been struggling with semantic honesty lately. Don't know why, but I've found myself analysing what we say and imagining what would happen if we took each other at our word. For an English person this could be social suicide because so much of what we say is cultural, not literal, as in, I really should … Continue reading How Merry is Yours so Far?
When it was all over, she resigned her job, packed a case and flew to Montpellier. It was strange really. While it was all unravelling – thirty years of careful working life – she knew, at the end of it, she would need to go away for a bit. But where? Night after night, stiff … Continue reading The Olive Tree
The international happiness expert (yes, there is one), Paul Dolan, was on Radio 4 this morning. He says true happiness is finding the balance between things we find pleasurable and things we find purposeful. He cited having children as an example, saying that according to all the happiness data, we shouldn’t bother. At best they … Continue reading Habits of Delight and the Myth of Joyful Parenting?
You know when you get a trolley with a dodgy wheel? The realisation sort of creeps up on you, doesn’t it? First you’re scrabbling for a pound (Is that one? No, it’s a franc or a token for the Belarus metro). Then it won’t fit in the slot unless you press down, applying your full … Continue reading Play