A New Home for a Much-Loved Elephant

Our grandson River, who is not yet two, seemed to know what was about to happen. The Christmas presents this year were piled up on the floor rather than under the tree and River sat himself in touching distance. There were packages of all sizes but amongst them one dominated. Compared with the others it…

A Beguiling Christmas Pig

When Rohan discovered that ‘Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever’ would be  on in London’s West End over Christmas, the next steps were inevitable. Texts were exchanged, parental approval received, tickets bought and our grandson River was invited to his first trip to the theatre. A Peppa Pig doll is one of River’s favourite toys. He also owns George Pig, her brother, and umpteen Pig accessories.Moreover, like any reasonable toddler, River, who is not yet two, watches videos of Peppa Pig when he can…

A Magical Duet for Guitar and Whistle

I am an inveterate whistler. I have been a ‘siffleur’ for years, whistling happily to myself when I am alone and, more particularly, if out walking. The pattern is fairly routine - I step outside, stand on the pavement and start up. It is automatic. I don’t plan what tune will emerge, although at the moment it…

Safe in my Mind’s Eye?

Once a week Fahar and I play chess. Recently I arrived feeling sad and in the same coat and hat I had just worn at a friend’s funeral. Fahar and I always chat as we set out the pieces, so I had a moment to explain what had happened. After offering his condolences he commented…

Spoiled for Choice, Abandoned for Nothing

The plan was simple and it worked - well almost. We, that is my grandson River; his Dad, Joshua and I (‘Gar’) would browse in Hamleys, ‘the world’s biggest toy shop’. We would start on the seventh floor and work our way down and, on the way would not be tempted -  we would buy nothing. …

Being in Touch

 To celebrate our wedding anniversary this summer we spent a few days in a tiny pocket of Southern France. Now back home, it is memories of three experiences that linger uppermost and all three have one thing in common; each was emotional. None of these feelings related to friends or personal issues, but, to the…

Lessons from a Wizened Potato

At the start of our summer in France I was rightly taken to task. Jeni, our house guest, chided me for failing to take care of a wrinkled potato. Against all odds, the potato, which was no bigger than a walnut, had survived the winter in a cupboard and later, in a search for daylight, had produced a spindly…

Dressed to Kill?

Words can jolt and, for me, an armed policeman’s reply did just that. This story, which is about his riposte, has three key strands; my conversation with the officer as he patrolled London’s City Airport; my dress sense, or lack of it; my habit of exchanging pleasantries with those in authority. When walking in busy…

When River came to Stay

Something very special happened in August. Our grandson, River stayed with us in our cottage in France and after being together day-in, day-out for a week, for the first time I felt I really knew him. We understood each other and shared jokes and when there was a hint of a smile or a cry,…