Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist (annoying all-rounder), wrote – at a sprightly 81 years old – a famous article entitled, “How to Grow Old”. He himself was to grow much older, but he can’t have known, when he was writing it, that he would live to the ripe old age of 97. On … Continue reading Life Is a River
‘You need a man.’ I looked M. up and down before I told her, but her want of a man was obvious, and urgent. ‘Preferably a well-proportioned one.’ M. looked around the shop surreptitiously, as though preparing to sneak up on one, pounce and grab him. But this was a man-free shop. The two women … Continue reading Coats On
I stood on the edge of a carpet of decaying roses in the middle of July of this year, which was, I think, around six weeks after they had been laid down. What amazed me was how long the flowers were lasting; that is to say, how they were still offering something to be enjoyed … Continue reading Decay
My dad would have been 81 today but he died a few years shy of seeing another decade. It’s long enough ago for me to reflect peacefully, to cradle his absence from a place of stillness. Not that opening packages of memory comes without emotion, but now any pain I feel has a soft give, … Continue reading Whole
I don't know what age children are when they start asking, ‘But why?’ Are they three-years old? Four? And when does the, ‘But why?’ battery wear out? I going to guess it wears out sometime around sixteen; the age at which the questions evaporate because they (kid-ults) know the answer to everything. From such secure … Continue reading But Why?
‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it can only be lived forwards.’ These are the words of Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian and poet. I was at a conference last week where one of the speakers, from Denmark, drew extensively from the work of Kierkegaard. When he told us he was going to delve … Continue reading Young and Old
‘The old dog for the long road.’ D. taught me that one when I was much younger, when I had more give in my knees. Back then I got the gist of it, though I can't say I fully grasped its depth of meaning. It is one of those sayings to which you nod when … Continue reading Be Still And Wait
Around the corner from where I live is a dentist’s surgery. Once a week, an A-frame board appears on the street outside announcing: ‘Dermabrasion clinic for fillers, lip plumping, smoothing of fine lines and crow’s feet.’ We all know, thanks to Philip Larkin, that the age of debauchery was born with the invention of sex in … Continue reading Crow’s Feet