The Humans

On watching The Humans with my humans. (A movie by Stephen Karam that centres on the gathering of what some have called a ‘dysfunctional family’ was likely to contain elements that would hit home.) Six members of a multi-generational family gather together in Chinatown, Manhattan, at the newly acquired duplex of the youngest (adult) daughter, … More The Humans

Milestone Words

I asked my friend, Fitta, to give me a proverb. I’ve been hunting for proverbs in books, magazines and online. I’ve consulted sugar sachets from Spain; I’ve discovered the wisdoms of the Akans; and I’ve learned that these clever turns of phrase which express universal truths may not themselves be universal. My recent interest in … More Milestone Words

Extreme listening

The first thing anyone said to me one morning recently was: “He never listens to a word I say.”

‘He’ was the speaker’s dog. The speaker was a young woman, instructing her dog to cross the road, but he was too busy sitting on the pavement watching the world go by. The young woman had headphones on, and I wondered if the dog was trying to make a point. … More Extreme listening

(Bewitched by) Nuns

Perhaps it started with Sister Laurie at St Joseph’s School in North Battleford, right in the middle of the Canadian prairies.  Sister Laurie was petite and neat and the gentlest soul. When I was six and the new girl from the Old World, she was my teacher. She welcomed me into her classroom and nobody … More (Bewitched by) Nuns

Coffee Strength

My son offered me a coffee this morning; he likes to make it strong. I accepted, knowing what I might be letting myself in for. Half-way down my mugful, I realised that it was stronger than strong. I carried on drinking, wondering if this was a sensible thing to do. I drank down to the … More Coffee Strength

Luck Under the Bridge

I was brought up to be superstitious. I was also taught not to believe everything I was taught, which leaves me in the fortunate position of being able to pick and choose my charms. Such as blowing an eyelash and making a wish, or seeing the joy in two magpies. However, leaving a dropped knife … More Luck Under the Bridge

An Aside on Fate

As long as I can remember, my mother has dismissed matters of concern with the words “It’s fate!” Meaning: don’t worry about things you can do nothing about (although saying those words has never saved her from sleepless nights). Recently, my eldest son was sitting a test at a random location (not for COVID-19, but … More An Aside on Fate