…soon you will write

23.Books on your coffee table: — The Philosophy of the Bed, by Mary Eden & Richard CarringtonYou found this book in a strange kind of thrift shop, a greenhouse beside a garden cafe, its glassy walls housing furniture and crockery, paintings and books. The book has a tattered dust jacket bearing a reproduction of GrandeContinue reading “…soon you will write”

…talking about the weather

22. He said, Things must be bad if we’re talking about the weather. As if it doesn’t matter. — But that day you both stopped under the arches where someone had left flowers and he wanted to kiss you, that day was spring warm and the sky was blue like a promise. — The dayContinue reading “…talking about the weather”

…the golden ratio

‘The golden ratio is one of the most famous irrational numbers; it goes on forever and can’t be expressed accurately without infinite space.’Live Science 21. You are reading the scene in Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things when Ambrose Pike discovers the garden at Alma Whittaker’s grand house, and asks ‘what mad genius tookContinue reading “…the golden ratio”

…things people say

20.—Your Grandad lived by the phrase Moderation in all things. His garden contradicted this with its abundance of fruit and vegetables, but any excess found its way to the kitchens of friends and family. Mostly you remember the black grapes hanging like jewels from the ceiling of his greenhouse. They were full of pips andContinue reading “…things people say”

…after bed

19.When Joan Didion writes about her migraines in her essay, In Bed, she reveals that doctors believe there is a ‘migraine personality’, which includes being inwardly-focused, ambitious, rigidly organised and a perfectionist. You pause to reread this list, noting that you probably tick all of these boxes. You have suffered with migraines for as longContinue reading “…after bed”

…a life in libraries

18.— From the age of 8 to 12 a mobile library stops outside your house. You remember the smell of dust and rubber and paper, and the ridges of wood that edge the shelves to stop the books from sliding out. You borrow a book about boys marooned in the jungle who survive by buildingContinue reading “…a life in libraries”

…the festival-goers

16.For many years your sister works as a nurse at Glastonbury Festival. She and her family camp in their yurt in the field reserved for medical staff, which is clean and spacious with an abundance of toilets and showers. In the hot years she treats sunstroke and dehydration. In the rainy years she treats hypothermiaContinue reading “…the festival-goers”

…things you’ve inherited

15.— Acceptance of people as they are. Your mother lives her life this way, her face young with the kindness she shows others. She runs a social club for the elderly, organising quizzes and lunches, speakers and performers. She is in her seventies herself, and can also be feisty. This is another trait you’ve inherited.Continue reading “…things you’ve inherited”

…break or be broken

14.Have you ever been in a relationship where the pressure builds incrementally until you want to tear it apart, just to see what remaining fragments are important to you? Have you ever picked a groundless fight, or maintained your rightness when you knew you were wrong, or pushed and pushed to see how far youContinue reading “…break or be broken”

…sewing for self-isolation

11.You have been wearing the same clothes for most of your life, but now they lie torn and tattered across the floor, no longer recognisable as clothes at all. These were the clothes of a mother and a teacher, clothes to keep warm in a draughty cottage, clothes of a certain kind of friend, aContinue reading “…sewing for self-isolation”