People are people, so said my sister with profound simplicity in a conversation we had over Christmas. The context of our conversation I cannot remember, nor can I remember specifically whom we were talking about, except that it was someone who had been demonised and demolished, someone who had made a mistake, had spoken without … Continue reading People Are People
To disagree with someone over the weather is one of the most blatant acts of hostility you can commit. Kate Fox agrees with me. In her book, Watching the English, she says, “It would be very rude to respond to ‘Ooh, isn’t it cold?’ with ‘No, actually, it’s quite mild.’” I maintain that to agree upon the … Continue reading Another Way of Seeing Things
There’s something about staring out to sea that slows one’s breathing, and no matter how rough the sea is, the mind calms, ideas stir, if you happen to be with someone, easy conversation flows. I was sitting on a bench yesterday, looking out to sea, friend beside me, take away coffees, scones in brown paper … Continue reading If I Knew Then
‘You make a great cup of tea.’ I know it doesn’t sound like the most fulsome praise to give someone, but it’s a decent start. The small things matter, in fact, people are more likely to believe and remember the small compliments, the droplets of praise; they become the mortar holding our days together, they … Continue reading You Did Good
I recently came across the dictation function on my computer, a find that, initially, gave rise to much excitement. My excitement was dashed, however, when I set about using it and realised it was hard of hearing. What other reason could there be for how appallingly it transcribed my flowing, spoken words? My rolling Northern Irish accent … Continue reading Finding My Way
By the entrance to Edinburgh’s Modern Art Gallery, you will find the first of a series of six Anthony Gormley cast iron sculptures; those well-known life-size male figures that stand straight as soldiers, arms by their side. The peculiar thing about this particular one, however, is that it is buried to its chest, just above … Continue reading What Does It All Mean?
There are seventeen different types of tomato ketchup to choose from in Waitrose. Ketchup is one of the few things I don’t eat, yet here I am hypothetically asking myself which I would buy if I were here to buy it. Dr. Wills is the most expensive by far. An attractive label – exclamation mark fashioned from … Continue reading Ketchup
What if holding on opinion is over-rated and not making up one's mind is the better place to be?
We use the expression in Ireland, “giving out” – I’m not sure how far it travels. It can mean to tell someone off, to complain, fault-find, or to indulge enthusiastically in expressing one’s dissatisfaction with all and sundry. I have a good friend upon whom I rely for our weekly telephone dose of mutual giving … Continue reading Giving Out
The world has ground to a halt. Except that the wheels of the world grind slowly, and 2020’s halt felt more like an emergency stop. There we all were, spanking along, foot to the floor, probably on the wrong side of the speed limit, when a shadowy figure ran out unexpectedly. There are no wolves … Continue reading Wolves