“Everything’s late this year,” said my aged mother, when I took her a cup of tea in bed this morning.

I thought that was rather unkind – it was only seven o’clock and who on earth expects their visitors to provide tea in bed before that on a Sunday?

But the theme has continued throughout the morning:
Continue reading “late”

it’s complicated**

“[T]here is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

As Shakespeare clearly understood when he had Hamlet say the above line, everything in life is affected by our personal perspective.

And our perspective depends very much on where we were born and brought up, and on the social and family values we were exposed to as children. Even beauty is a learned concept.
Continue reading “it’s complicated**”


Sometimes, all you seem to be able to focus on are the thistles:

cardo : thistle Continue reading “attitudes”


I’ve mentioned the children’s poem Dorothy Rose on the blog before now, and how the world can seem very different, depending on where you choose to look.

These photos, taken within a few yards of each other this morning, serve as a reminder that the bare, dripping branches of winter don’t tell the whole story.

raindrops on a bare branch
periwinkle flower and leaves

reasons to be cheerful

Yesterday, around the world millions of people gave thanks for lots of different things. In a month’s time, it will be Christmas Day, and millions of others will also be counting their blessings.

Today, I haven’t a single poetical thought to share, no particular insights into life, and I have seen no particularly atrocious grammar in the papers to mock. I don’t even have time to go and find something odd or otherwise worthy of a photograph.

However, since today is as good a day as any other to be thankful, I’ve found two old photos from November last year of sights that were both bright and glorious and made me feel thankful, cheerful and just generally good about life, even if only briefly:


positivity check

When I first moved to Spain, the country was suffering a drought.

shoe boxes left behind after a street market
I think that lasted for the first eight years that I lived in Madrid, and, understandably, I didn’t really appreciate how bad it was, as I had nothing to compare the weather to. Yes, it was sunny; yes it was hot; but wasn’t that what Spanish weather was meant to be like?

(We all have a tendency to fall back on stereotypes. When I tell people I live in Spain they assume I must live on one of those fictional costas where no one ever does any work but spends all day and all the long, hot night sitting at a terraza on the beach drinking iced beer or cheap vino tinto.)
Continue reading “positivity check”

the bright side

Half empty wine glass with marina backdrop
Half empty?

I was at a writing workshop this weekend and one exercise involved writing about our childhood homes. When the first few pieces were read out they involved anecdotes of family arguments and illness etc.

Some of the people involved grew up during the War, so it’s not surprising that there were some bad memories, but the tutor commented that her experience shows the vast majority of people will write something negative. I suppose this ties in with the fact that first memories are often of some traumatic experience.
Continue reading “the bright side”