trains, travel & terminology

Many years ago I had a colleague who told me that she was concerned about her daughter’s English, as the family didn’t speak English at home. Without a second thought, I told her she should encourage the girl to read.

I didn’t think it mattered whether she was reading Jane Austen, Dickens, Woman’s Weekly, or simply the next Mills and Boone bodice ripper: my idea was that she’d learn grammar and assimilate new vocabulary from seeing language in context.
Continue reading “trains, travel & terminology”

telling tales

Walking along by the canal the other day, I paused to take a photograph of what I initially thought was a bee.

This meant stepping off the path a little, and I waited to one side as a dog walker was coming along in the opposite direction. He could see that I was taking photos and told me to watch out for an orchid that was in bloom some twenty yards back along the way he’d come.
Continue reading “telling tales”

strawberries and cream

When I used the title “ways and worlds” for the last blog post, I had no intention of referencing Laurie Lee. And yet now that I’ve gone looking for his poem “Home from Abroad”, I find it begins,

Far-fetched with tales of other worlds and ways,

so it seems likely that I had that at the back of my mind.

I was looking for the poem today as I wanted to quote a line from it. And although I’ve quoted it here on the blog in the past, it was a good opportunity to re-read the whole poem. Continue reading “strawberries and cream”

threads of memory

At this time of year, the rural hedgerows and urban edgerows froth with white lacy flowers.

I’m not sure I know the difference between cow parsley and cow parsnip, wild carrot and hogweed, chervil and hemlock, or a host of other white-flowered umbellifers, but they always trigger a singsong voice in my head:

Queen Anne’s lace, Queen Anne’s lace,
You’ll find it growing all over the place

Continue reading “threads of memory”

never too late

Far too many people boast talk about taking up hobbies late in life and blithely claim that it’s “never too late to follow your dreams”.

As a little girl I don’t think I had many dreams. I certainly didn’t have many original ones. I know that I dreamed of having thick, raven black locks, like Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, Cleopatra, or the Queen of Sheba in the illustration in my Bible. But although I don’t think I ever actually read Anne of Green Gables, I know what happened when she dyed her hair and I never wanted to take the risk.
Continue reading “never too late”