“It’s Much Better in German »

Opinions of others can change in a moment and several years ago this happened to my wife, Rohan. In our family, her account of that day’s events has become legendary and recently she retold the tale to friends over tea. It is that retelling which prompted this blog. The story was several years in the…

“You’re too old to do that”

When it comes to beaches, my favourites have miles of fine sand and the occasional rock pool. On a recent trip to the seaside the view down to the water’s edge could not have been more disappointing. For the next hour or so I would be ‘playing’ on a short stretch of a narrow, steeply banked, pebble beach with nowhere…

“Not Odd, Just English »

When Rohan woke that morning she told me how her night had been broken by bursts of unusual and worrying sounds. Volleys of coughs, snorts and whimpers came in through the window from the garden below. Both of us hear less well these days but our losses are complementary. So whereas she is good on…

A Song at Tea Time

Our tea that day was very special. It was a warm and sunny afternoon and we decided to eat in the garden. When Rohan’s Russian teacher arrived the table was already set with a spread that included home-made biscuits and an apple tart baked for the occasion. Masha, once a teacher of Russian in Novosibirsk, emigrated to France over…

When Henri Came to Stay

One of the great pleasures of being in Brittany is living where there is a pervading sense of silence. There are, of course, some noises such as birds singing in the garden or the sea rumbling in the distance but these don’t intrude. This blog is about the cock-a-doodle-dooing of Henri, a visiting rooster, that…

“I Want to be a Doctor”

Ultimately it would be for Victoire to decide. If she felt that a chat with me about being a doctor might help, her parents and I had pencilled in a possible time and place for us to meet.  I was a few minutes late and Victoire’s father, Mathieu, greeted me saying that she was indeed…

Bernard and His Briefcase

Although it might seem harsh, people see their friends as either ‘close’ or ‘very close’. Until recently I could count seven who were ‘very close’, then earlier this year the number fell by one - on 5th March my Brittany friend Bernard died. For several years he had suffered from a series of life-threatening illnesses and before returning home from France…

Flagpoles, Paradigms and Anti-Vaxxers

Rohan’s coffee with a friend was not a success. They had not seen each other for almost a year, but afterwards Rohan came home upset and angry. Their conversation had turned to the pandemic and to one issue in particular - vaccination. Rohan was fully vaccinated months ago while Sylvie has resisted, and in their discussion…

Reflections on Reality

In May each year we visit the Isabella Plantation. In this floral haven in Richmond Park azaleas blossom along the edges of streams and ponds, where their spring display of a myriad different and delicate colours is simply breathtaking. At the height of the season earlier this year, Rohan and I stood on one side of the tiny, and aptly…