“It’s the Bottle”

Henri was standing at the side of the road hitching a lift. Like me, he was heading for the neighbouring town of Pont L’Abbé; in all, the drive would take about ten minutes. These days I rarely give lifts to strangers but the sky was leaden, the forecast was for rain and he was alone;…

Times Past

It was mid-morning and I was drinking a hot chocolate at one of my favourite cafes. The sun was stronger than usual, there was hardly a cloud in the sky and the waitress had just begun to set the tables for lunch. Locally known as Chez Marie-Cath - it has no name sign outside - the…

The Curious Contents of the Garden Shed

We spent the last two nights of our holiday on a Brittany island in a ‘converted farmhouse’ with its ‘landscaped garden’.  We arrived at the Bed and Brefast to find the front drive freshly raked, the beds on either side weed-free, and the plants within perfectly aligned. Janine welcomed us; she was relaxed, tanned, slim and smartly dressed. In…

Tales from Two Exhibitions

I rarely come away from an exhibition without some new insight. The exhibits themselves will be important but it is new ideas that will dominate and, if I am lucky, change how I think. And so it was with an exhibition at the British Museum on ‘Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece’. It jolted…

Freedom Amongst the Bluebells

I am addicted to reading the inscriptions on park benches. Those on gravestones used to be my favourites - ‘I told you I was ill’ was one of the best. However, around us in Richmond graveyards are rare while benches are now commonplace. Our council even has a website setting out its rules for public…

If you want to continue receiving my blog

Hello! On MAY 25th the law changed. You are now required to opt-in to continue to receive my joecollier.blog reminders Please confirm whether you wish to remain on my mailing list . If you do, please google ‘joecollier.blog/follow’ and then add your email address and click on the ‘follow’ box. If you want to stop following, simply go to ‘subscribe.wordpress.com’, and when you…

The Piano Teacher

Well before our trip to St Petersburg (see ‘Family Ties’, ‘joecollier.blog’; 29 April 2018) we had decided that on one of our evenings we would go to a concert. After some negotiation, tickets were booked for a piano recital; my preference was that it should include work by Tchaikovsky. We soon learned that our concert…

Family Ties

My wife, Rohan, has been dreaming of visiting Saint Petersburg since her teens. She has a warmth for Russia, for Russian literature and for the Russian language and, fittingly, she studied Russian at school and took it up again after retirement. For years, Rohan has cherished a photograph of her grandmother, Annie Forsyth, taken in…

One Man and his Dog

  This story tells of an episode that occurred in a tiny village in Brittany. It is here, in Tréguennec, that we now spend much of the year and where we witnessed a series of events that brought feelings of pride and shame in equal measure. Although the episode is now over, thoughts about it…

Mother and Baby are doing well

  Three of us sat in an annex near the delivery suite anxiously awaiting news. After an hour, a smiling midwife slipped quietly into the room holding a notepad. She checked who we were and read out her message - “Your grandson was born at 19h16. He and his mother are doing well. You are…