Transitional Objects

When I am tired or less than engaged by what I am reading, I sometimes wander off in my head, suddenly come to my senses, and realise my eyes have scanned the last paragraph or so with no idea how I reached my current point. This means retracing my steps to keep me on track.Continue reading “Transitional Objects”

Through The Underpass

This morning I decided to walk through the Malwood Farm underpass and see how far I got before I gave up on what I expected to be a rather soggy terrain. It probably would have been a better idea to have stayed on the roads, or at least worn Wellingtons instead of walking shoes. EvenContinue reading “Through The Underpass”

‘Get Two’

This morning I began reading Voltaire’s tale, ‘Le Taureau Blanc’, which translates as ‘The White Bull’.  I doubt whether anyone of my generation can see such a title without thinking of Tommy Steele’s famous 1959 hit song ‘Lttle White Bull’ from the film ‘Tommy the Toreador’.  Rather as with Adam Faith’s ‘What do you want?’, IContinue reading “‘Get Two’”

Pick And Mix

Last night, as for some time now, we were entertained by a number of forest owl duets.  As I have usually written my post before the overture I have forgotten to mention it before. By no means my best photograph, today’s advent picture from December 1964 shows the timeless nature of the Trafalgar square ChristmasContinue reading “Pick And Mix”


Most newly married couples, each with a family of origin, divide their time over the Christmas period between the two.  As I am sure you all know, this can have interesting results.  Vivien’s penultimate Christmas in 1963 was no exception.  After spending the day itself with my parents, we travelled by train to her family in Sidcup,Continue reading “Perfume”

A Good Woman

On 25th December there cannot be many homes in this country without a television turned on at some time in the day, perhaps to watch The Snowman, The Shawshank Redemption, or The Queen’s Speech.  It is incidentally amazing that the same queen, Elizabeth II, who had already been on the throne for ten years inContinue reading “A Good Woman”


As a young man in 1973 I have to admit I was somewhat disgruntled to note the founding of Virago, proclaiming itself to be ‘a feminist publishing company’ dedicated to championing women’s talents.  It seemed rather an aggressive name.  And why did women need a segregated outlet?  After all, some of my favourite writers, asContinue reading “‘Shoo!’”

Remembrance In The Stone

We have experienced no snow in the forest yet this year, but no advent season could be without anticipation, eager in the young, apprehensive in the elderly, of white flakes falling on Christmas Day.  Where would we be were our television screens devoid of ‘The Snowman’, the 1982 adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s timeless and beautifullyContinue reading “Remembrance In The Stone”

A Philosophical Journey

By coincidence, today I finished reading two works of philosophy.  These were Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ and Voltaire’s short story ‘Micromegas’.  Each, in their own way, put me in mind of Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’.  Voltaire’s piece was in the well-tried form of a philosophical journey, the device used in the English writer’s political allegory.  TheseContinue reading “A Philosophical Journey”