november notes

From the crimson feathers of the Japanese maple to the bright eyes lurking in the hedgerows, there are so many things to see in nature’s autumnal colours.

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please give up your seat

Years ago, before every house had a computer and every child a smartphone, a friend told me he would have none of this modern technology because keeping icons on his desktop smacked of Papism and idolatry.

He may well still have the same objection, but, with so much information intended for an international audience, it’s frequently more efficient to use pictures than words, and communication using symbols and pictograms has become ubiquitous.
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fall back

“Spring forward; Fall back.” – the mnemonic my father taught me to remember which way the clocks needed to be altered at the beginning and end of British Summer Time.

Fall back is also one of those marvellous English phrasal verbs – known by many EFL students as “frazzle” verbs, presumably because of the effect on the mind of trying to memorise them – where a main verb is combined with a particle (adverb, preposition, or both).
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imagined colours

The post Fairground Colours, written some years ago, includes the phrase “There’s little sadder than a fairground by daylight”.

But that was in Spain, where the heat and dazzle of the sun drain the bright neon from the rides and leave drab pastels instead.

Here in the UK, the light has a different quality.
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morning and evening

I was out and about before the sun was up this morning and rushing off to the station.

That meant I didn’t have my good camera with me – it’s too heavy for general use – and I didn’t really pause to frame and focus, so the pictures I took of the misty morning in the park are not worth the pixels they’d take to display nor the bytes they need for keeping.
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de-bugging procedures

At first glance, it may look as if the rather snazzy spider in the photo is lying on her back waving her legs in the air. In fact she was dangling a few inches above the kitchen counter, suspended from the ceiling by a thread. It’s probably just as well that I saw her before I put the mixing bowl down and started measuring out the flour to make scones.

She was the second spider I had to ask to leave the house this morning. I don’t suppose either of them really fancied being outside in the rain, but I decided I’d be happier if they left the premises, even if they weren’t.
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milking it

I was brought up in a time before coffee shops.

Well, not entirely before coffee shops, but certainly before the global phenomenon of American chains with their skinny ventis, Americanos, and tall decaf drips.

There were tea shops in my childhood – both independents and the ubiquitous ABCs; and I have fond memories of Saturday afternoons spent in the Kardomah in Nottingham. But children were given nursery tea, while coffee was a drink for adults; even then, it was as likely to be Maxwell House as anything. (Our kitchen did have a bottle of Camp Coffee tucked away, but although I remember the intense smell of chicory of the inky brown liquid, I think it was only brought out to make coffee cakes, not to serve as a drink for guests.)
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