“I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across the these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up, near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen)
“We paid £3 for a haircut in South Africa,” we told our flamboyant, full-of-opinions, Irish hairdresser in London some years ago.
[This, when he quoted Hubby £45 for a men’s short back and sides.]
“WELL! … I don’t exactly live in a frickin mud hut, do I?” he pointed out.
Concerning truffles – “During the season, from November until March, they can be tracked down by nose, providing you have sensitive enough equipment. The supreme truffle detector is the pig, who is born with a fondness for the taste, and whose sense of smell in this case is superior to the dog’s. But there is a snag: the pig is not content to wag his tail and point when he has discovered a truffle. He wants to eat it. In fact, he is desperate to eat it. And as Ramon said, you cannot reason with a pig on the brink of gastronomic ecstasy.”
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Hubby: We are going mushroom picking this Autumn. Me: We don’t have any spare weekends. Hubby: We are going! Me: But… Hubby: Show me our calendar. Me: The only open weekend left is the end of September and I need to pack for South Africa. Hubby: That weekend is perfect!
“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself. “Business!”cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The elderly Mr SM (Shipping Magnate) ushered us into his substantial office and gestured to the leather sofa. “I give you two minutes,” he held up two fingers and perched his slightly unkempt, rather portly, untucked self on the arm of a chair. “I tell you what to do if you want to work with us,” he began.
“Red wine with fish. Well that should have told me something.“
From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
Our first view of Saint Petersburg (pronounced Sankt Pyterborrg or just Pyterborrg by Russians) was from the window of the Meteor (hydrofoil vessel) from Peterhof. A cheerful, high pitched woman’s voice shrieked and crackled over the loudspeaker in Russian – no doubt telling us the mysteries and wonders of Saint Petersburg. However, the Meteor was packed full of Chinese tourists and we three auspicious caucasians squished like sardines in among them.
“If so, better let him be named after his father. His father was Akaky, so let the son also be Akaky. Thus it was that Akaky Akakievich came about. As the child was being baptised, he cried and made such a face as if he anticipated that he would be a titular councillor.”
The Overcoat by Nicholai Gogol
It seems that Putin and Zuma have formed an unholy alliance. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. I hear your groans. I see your rolled eyes.
“Today, given a 35mm camera and a built-in exposure-meter, anyone can be an expert photographer, but it was not so easy fifty-years ago…. Clicking the shutter even once was a serious business that had to be carefully thought out beforehand.”
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
I’m eavesdropping on a table of paint-spattered construction workers in my local cafe. As they hungrily devour their ‘full English’ they are cross-examining one another’s attempts so far at keeping to their new year resolutions.
Have you made some new years resolutions? After examining my own year in photos, the mantra, ‘get back into my photography’, seems to ring out boldly and would appear on my list if I had one. I have long neglected my photography and sadly my big Nikon and expensive lenses have spent a shameful amount of time in the spare cupboard. The curse of the iPhone – so very small and convenient – sadly the results are somewhat disappointing. Bear with my poor efforts as I take you through my year in pictures:
We saw the new year in (2014/2015) with a group of special friends in a cottage on the cold Yorkshire moors doing a murder mystery dinner – in full costume and character. “Such fun!” (Miranda voice).