Pilchards

“Hello … hello? Is that you, Becky?” My elderly neighbour is on the line. Her voice is strong and resonant but carries a chord of concern. “I just don’t know how everyone will cope,” she says, “How long is this going to last, do you think?”  Mary is worried, of course, about the coronavirus crisis … More Pilchards

Messages from Malawi

“We are eating mangoes now. The picture I have sent is one of our own trees outside our house.“ I wake to messages like this often. They arrive on my phone all the way from Malawi in the middle of the night, at the latest by 5 o’clock, when most Malawians have been up and … More Messages from Malawi

Yesterday

Yesterday, I met a woman in a shop. She didn’t give me her name, but she did divulge her age: 92 – yet she looked closer to 72 with her bright blue eyes, and I told her so. I asked her what her secret was. She looked a little bemused by my question, paused to … More Yesterday

The Wolf Whistle

I’ve not been wolf-whistled in at least 25 years. That’s quite a time. But it’s now no longer true. Rewind four weeks and I am walking up a quiet Greek road thinking about figs. I am whistled at. Technically, I know it to be a wolf whistle (the short rising note followed by a slow … More The Wolf Whistle

Madrid anti-clockwise

I run early before heat encases the city, although its grip is palpable already. I slide beside walls and stick to shadows cast on slivers of street littered with last night’s debris. Morning tourists are few but strewn like slowly perambulating hazards. Smart locals in shades dodge them deftly whilst speaking nineteen to the dozen … More Madrid anti-clockwise

Incredible Edible

Today I was intrigued to see veg and herbs growing outside my local town’s council offices. What a brilliant way to use up space often inhabited (as Pam Warhurst says with comedic disdain) by unproductive “prickly plants”.  Incredible Edible is a movement that’s growing (globally), and it’s inclusive: “If you eat, you’re in.” The premise is … More Incredible Edible

Plastic Peccadilloes

I imagine Bettina Maidment to have enviable cupboards full of Kilner jars in which she keeps colourful lentils in nice neat rows. I bet there’s not a single piece of plastic to blight the eye For Bettina is the Plastic Free Community Leader for Hackney. She took the decision to live without plastic a couple … More Plastic Peccadilloes

Kitty the Dancer

Kitty’s a dancer. She’s agile and flexible and recognises a cue. I haven’t seen her take a single (dance) step yet, but soon I know this is true. We’re talking about kids. Kitty says she wouldn’t want to be young in today’s world – the pressures! Nobody ever expected her to achieve anything at all … More Kitty the Dancer

Brimful of Hygge

Christmas is nigh. A snug-lit festival in winter’s darkest month: steaming mince pies and red-nosed jumpers, clove-warm mulled wine and pigs in blankets. It’s a brimful of hygge on the 25th. All wrapped up with family and friends (whether you like them or not). But for as many as 1.4 million people in the UK … More Brimful of Hygge

#craftmoves connects London

A tube journey – no eye contact and no conversation, everyone trying to ignore everyone else. The emptiness filled by the noisy clunking of the train, and the swaying of people as it stops and starts. Until three exuberant women break the rules by talking to complete strangers. They unpack their bags, take out colouring … More #craftmoves connects London