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…

The preserve of the tongue-tied

Mrs Miller moved like a tortoise. All her movements were slow, nothing sudden, nothing jerky; she was certainly not someone to be hurried. It was a concern about her shortness of breath that brought her to the clinic, and the diagnosis was soon clear; she had developed asthma. But, for her sake, her eerie slowness also needed…

Potted Irish

Ask me to read an article quickly and then to recall the key elements and it would be beyond me. Spelling too is very testing, and taking in the facts presented in class or when revising (nowadays in French) takes me ages compared to the time others need. With the aid of tricks learned over…

The parable of the humble shoe lace

Some things are important more for what they represent than for what they are, and for me one such is the humble shoelace. These long, thin and usually featureless strands have been threaded through shoe eyelets for over a thousand years and have changed little. There has been competition - buckles, elastic, zips, plastic and…