lighter, whiter, brighter

the sun flowers
and sheds its petalled light
into the corners
of our unswept lives

I said this morning that yesterday was grey, with little to recommend it. Today has not been much better, although I suppose it must be slightly brighter and less grey, if only because it has been a day of domesticity: I have been washing and ironing, sweeping and dusting, scrubbing, mopping and polishing.
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train of thought

Trains were a major feature of my childhood. I don’t know how many times I’d actually been on a train before my first birthday, but I do know that I had already travelled from the south east of England all the way to the Highlands, a journey that, even today, would be likely to take the best part of a day.

Even when we returned to live in the south a few years later we didn’t own a car so my father commuted to London by train and underground each day, and any holiday we took tended to feature traditional black cabs and card games played in waiting rooms at railway junctions.
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ordinary days

My mother mentioned that yesterday was St Andrew’s Day, adding that this meant that there would be no more “special days” until Christmas.

Well, I may have been brought up a Protestant, but I lived in Spain long enough to know that that couldn’t be right: every day seems to be the feast day of a dozen or more saints in the Catholic calendar, so I headed off to Google to find out more about St Andrew, as well as what other dates may be coming up that I should pay attention to.
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in the dark

It’s said that glossophobia – the fear of speaking in public – is high up among the most common fears, so I’m slightly surprised that it’s not something that has ever particularly bothered me.

Perhaps I read the lesson in church as a child or at the school carol service often enough for it to cease to be really frightening, although that raises the question of why, as a very timid small child, I was willing to volunteer to read – especially as I remember on at least one occasion having to stand up to a terrifying schoolmaster in order to be allowed to audition for the carol service: he thought I would never make myself heard – though I proved him wrong.
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a different perspective

I have pointed out on many occasions that looking at things from different angles and perspectives can result in a very different view and understanding of any situation.

I’ve also expressed a tendency to look upwards and be positive about things. But this week I was reminded that sometimes the view is better when you look down on things.

As seen in the picture above, the cathedral in Birmingham was rather spotty viewed through the autumn trees at ground level. But I had the chance to go up to the sixth floor of one of the building in the square and it was definitely a better – and clearer – view.
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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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