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

12th May

A year ago, I wrote that the curators of the Mass Observation Archive were making their annual appeal for our 12th May diaries. Here we are again, twelve long yet quick months later, and the Project is keen to know how we have fared. Its aim remains to collect glimpses of our lives on one … More 12th May

Memories and Daffodils

(A short walk through a Sevenoaks churchyard) Hestor was a wife. She was remembered with love by her husband, after she died in 1802. Her gravestone still stands and her name is still legible, despite the threat of a colony of white spots. Other names are invisible, swept away by the elements. Or have dates … More Memories and Daffodils

(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

A Love Story

I didn’t think I was writing a love story. I didn’t think I was writing a sad story. Nor one with uncomfortable truths. I thought I was writing a sunny story set in a Spanish Sierra, and I started with someone very similar to Elena, the Tortilla Maker. A story intended to be life-affirming and … More A Love Story

The Lady

Last time I was in Cambridge I ran past a lady. A ‘lady’ because she held herself so. It was a bright Sunday morning, early and quiet, and I had emerged from the secret gardens alongside Vicar’s Brook – a magical land of giant daisies and squashes, sweet peas and potatoes – to a prosaic … More The Lady