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…

Scotland, Hope Springs Eternal

We have just returned from a wonderful ten days in Scotland. The trip was not part of our original summer plans, rather it was a hasty rethink prompted by a wretched pandemic. From late May to early October we would normally be in our house in France. Last summer we managed a visit squeezed between two…

A House of Contrasts

  When our miserable year’s lockdown was over, the first museum Rohan and I visited was the house of Joseph Mallord William Turner. The exhibition there was a modest affair. The house, however, which was designed and built by Turner was a delight and a revelation. In 1807 Turner, then 32, bought two plots of…

Abram Games: The Man Behind the Icon

Just over seventy years ago, on May 4th 1951 to be precise, the Festival of Britain opened to the public. Within a week, my parents, my five year-old sister, Sarah, and I had visited the exhibition and I have never forgotten the aura of the occasion and the excitement it engendered. I don’t understand why…