Finding answers

“Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also the being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Questions and answersI have always been a questioner.

On family road trips when I was small (smaller), I wrestled with a physics question. Why did the fly which had flown into the open window continue to buzz around against the back windscreen? Why hadn’t it, with the speed of the vehicle, found itself SPLAT on the glass? Kilometres were spent agonising over this problem. Continue reading Finding answers

Springtime in Photos

“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”

Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë

From indoors, yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun shone brightly and I hurried out to work. As I stepped onto the pavement a bracing wind caught my light leather jacket, tugged at my loosely-wrapped scarf and made my feet feel naked in my sockless pumps.

Some snippets of March and April (all photos are captioned if you click on them): Continue reading Springtime in Photos

Plodding along

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps on this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

London winter sunsets

Oh, Shakespeare! You had me at tomorrow.

You’ve heard me say your first draft has permission to suck.  That’s still true even though our first draft of 2017 has been unexpectedly fractious and gruelling. Call it seasonal affective disorder, call it one problem after another, call it what you like. So far, 2017 is not the post-2016-solve-all that it promised to be (promised as in the promise communicated to me over a glass of Champagne on New Years Eve). Continue reading Plodding along

Eating with your fingers

“Natalie was nervous because I had explained that she would be treated differently because she was white, that she would have to work harder than other girls to gain my parents’ trust. And so they devised a plan: We agreed that on the first meeting my wife would not accept tea, she would instead make tea in the home of my parents. With that gesture, she showed that she did not have a superiority complex, that she was willing to make a gesture, however small, to gain acceptance.”

MMUSI MAIMANE Prophet or Puppet? by S’Thembiso Msomi

Ethiopian restaurantThere is a story that I’ve not been able to verify unequivocally, but which seems to be accepted as a fact:

On a visit to America some time in the 1800’s, Queen Victoria changed etiquette rules forevermore, by picking up a chicken wing with her fingers and eating it thus. Whether she saw this as a more efficient way to handle a chicken wing, or that it was preferable in the name of diplomacy to do as the Americans did, we will never know. Continue reading Eating with your fingers

St Paul’s bellringers, ancient societies, mysterious ringing and Harry Potter

crypt St PaulsOranges and lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
You owe me five, Say the bells of St. Martin’s.
When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich, Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.
I do not know, Says the great bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed, And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

English Nursery Rhyme, original version (different from above) appeared in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (c. 1744)

It was dark and the summer revellers and loud tourists had long returned to their hotels and haunts. Continue reading St Paul’s bellringers, ancient societies, mysterious ringing and Harry Potter

“If you like Piña Coladas, getting caught in the rain…”

“Pluviophile: Noun Latin pluvia +‎ phile = pluviophile ‎(plural pluviophiles) 1) Any organism that thrives in conditions of heavy rainfall 2) One who loves rain, a rain-lover”

Collins Dictionary – proposed new word 2014

WelliesHave you ever watched yourself as if in a film scene? You’re there exactly as you picture yourself in your head (not the person you’re often surprised to confront in the mirror). You’re the star of your show. You’re in high definition. The shot is framed beautifully. The lighting is perfect. And in some strange way, the movie-you is more real than the real-you.

I’ve just had one of those experiences.

Serendipitous? Precipitous? Wild? Whatever! Continue reading “If you like Piña Coladas, getting caught in the rain…”

Lessons from Sport: How to cheer for Fulham

“Few of us have chosen our clubs, they have simply been presented to us; and so as they slip from Second Division to the Third, or sell their best players, or buy players who you know can’t play, or bash the ball the seven hundreth time towards a nine foot centre-forward, we simply curse, go home, worry for a fortnight and then come back to suffer all over again.”

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Craven CottageStill 30 degrees. 7:30pm on 13th September. We squeezed along row F looking for our wooden seats, careful not to knock over a pint. The air was pungent with the smell of sweat and tensions were rising.

Fulham vs Burton Albion.

This is the second football game I have been to in all my 15 years living in the UK. Continue reading Lessons from Sport: How to cheer for Fulham