Year: 2016

Venice By Night

(photos) on digital | Venice, Italy | December 2016 Wishing you a joyous start to the New Year tonight! Thank you, as always, for reading and commenting here this year. I’m ever so grateful for your thoughts, engagement and the friendships I’ve forged through this blog. Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! x

This Year In Books (Part II)

Find Part I here. 19 ⤜ Men Explain Things To Me, by Rebecca Solnit A favourite writer covers a favourite (if only it weren’t so necessary) topic. 20 ⤜ Skyfaring, by Mark Vanhoenacker A pilot’s musings on flying. Sparkling writing and another favourite non-fiction read of the year. Read it on board an aeroplane, if you can, for extra submersion in its absorbing subject matter. 21 ⤜ The Gustav Sonata, by Rose Tremain A heart-warming and endearing portrayal of two boys, turned men, in wartime Switzerland. 22 ⤜ A Spool Of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler An engaging family drama in Tyler’s endearing, relatable style. 23 ⤜ H Is For Hawk, by Helen MacDonald Another favourite of the year, again for its glittering style and ability to make birds of prey interesting to this…generally disinterested…gal. Almost primal in its appraisal of the natural world, painful to read in parts due to its portrayal of grief, it is the kind of book you read with a lump in your throat, the kind of book you can’t put …

This Year In Books (Part I)

I adore books – their tidy spines and floppy covers, the rustle of pages turning between my fingertips, even their smell – almost as much as I love reading itself. It’s not an exaggeration to assert that I never feel more myself than when curled up with a book in bed. For me, reading is not so much an escape as a return; to the earliest sense of self I ever had, picking out storybooks from the library at the end of our street. I made it my resolution to read fifty books in 2016, having regressed somewhat in 2015 (thanks, I wrote at the close of year last, to “plenty of travel, the surprise of falling in love, burgeoning friendships, regular meltdowns about the direction of my twenty-somethings and the odd bit of work, too, I promise, all at the frenetic pace of London life”). But of course, time doesn’t slow down in its unceasing onward course; like a river, it only seems to speed up as it heads downstream. A new, more demanding job didn’t help …

Poem For The Weekend #60

When death comes like the hungry bear in autumn; when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; when death comes like the measle-pox when death comes like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? And therefore I look upon everything as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, and I look upon time as no more than an idea, and I consider eternity as another possibility, and I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular, and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, tending, as all music does, toward silence, and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth. When it’s over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. When it’s over, I …

Bright Spots | As The Year Draws In

        Our neighbourhood, as Christmas draws near. I mean, would you look at those mismatched socks pegged at the window? My heart. Fir trees standing sentry outside every pub on the Uxbridge Road. Thoughtful gifts, chosen with such care and attention. Sweet friends. A superlative sandwich in the fanciest of joints, to wish a colleague well. Frost spread across the field, as though a fairy-child made mischief with a pot of glitter overnight. The traditions we have sown, taking root in their second year – an early Christmas dinner for just the two of us, truffles tucked into bookshelves and baskets for hungry hands to seek, Sunday morning swims rewarded with brunch at home. Scribbling Christmas cards, licking stamps, and waltzing to the Post Office to stand in line, admiring packages under the arms of those in front, stamped, glittered, stickered. Wandering the suburban charity shops on a Friday noon for foraged treasures (vintage suitcase, check!), a favourite pastime of mine. Mist clinging to the air, peeling away as the day marches on. Mama, home from …