…the river house

70. The house beside the river is a house of lazy, hazy days.  You have gone there looking for something in the low grey sky and the thick flowing river, the still of the trees and the arched stone bridge.  You are there with your lover, laden with food and wine and strings of lights,Continue reading “…the river house”

…on not knowing

69. What to do when you’ve said everything but there is still everything to say?  Your mind is both depleted of words and so full you barely know where to begin.  As always the tools are waiting for use, pen and paper, keyboard and screen, but the starting point is elusive, a mere fleeting glimpse. Continue reading “…on not knowing”

…on tradition

68. Tradition is just peer pressure from the dead The dead are powerful.  The dead are invisible but their imprint is everywhere, tendrils of belief that curl and hook into sight and sound, winding their way into darkened rooms and open spaces, into minds still soft from birth.  Tradition wants you to be Mr/Mrs/Ms andContinue reading “…on tradition”

…out of hand

67. What the hand does the mind remembersMaria Montessori Your hands are more familiar to you than your own face.  Every crease and freckle, the corner of your thumb that cracks in winter, the sweeping lines of your palms.  You are fascinated by other people’s hands too, how deeply intimate it feels to look atContinue reading “…out of hand”

…a history of classrooms

66.The first classroom you remember has a high ceiling, high windows, a plastic trough where you play with water.  There are books that are read to you while you sit cross-legged on the floor, your feet tingling with pins and needles.  You sit at your desk pondering over workbooks that have puzzles and questions, theContinue reading “…a history of classrooms”

…trains of thought

65.Today you catch the train from Bath to Oxford, transferring your teaching self from one beautiful city to another. You haven’t done this journey for several years and you feel the anticipation of the bicycled streets and the lofty quads of University College. On your way to surprisingly ordinary classrooms, you hope to walk pastContinue reading “…trains of thought”

…things you have lost

64.You have lost the tattooed lemon that lived in your freezer for many years.  The lemon was illustrated by your daughter during her apprenticeship, the waxy yellow skin bearing a swallow in vivid blue and yellow and red.  It was one of the most precious things you owned, and was lost during a busy fewContinue reading “…things you have lost”

…marking the page

63.You sometimes read a book without thinking about the bookmark that holds your place.  As you read, this strip of cardboard gets tucked into the back pages or casually discarded on the bed covers, seemingly dispensable for all its functionality.  But when you begin a new book the feeling is deeper than practicality, starting asContinue reading “…marking the page”

…in praise of dreamers

62.Sometimes, when the rain comes, you take it as a sign to let the days arrange themselves.  You and your lover wake up late, drink coffee in bed, listen to the pigeons skittering against the window.  You eat breakfast after noon, tear olive bread and pour red wine, you read poetry and watch old films. Continue reading “…in praise of dreamers”

…birth of a story

61.Twenty-one years ago a new story was born.  It is a classic story of birth and death, and the coming together of unexpected events. It begins with the news report that Air France Concorde flight 4590 has crashed in Paris, killing all 109 people on board.  Your husband is a newspaper photographer so a fewContinue reading “…birth of a story”