Sunday, December 22, 2013

The visitor

At 8pm last Saturday night, the phone rang in my hotel room. The receptionist sounded suspicious and protective. 

“There’s a, er, gentleman here who wants to talk to you.” 

I was expecting him. 

“It's OK, we have an appointment – please tell him I’ll be right down.” 

She sounded only a little relieved. When I saw him sitting silently on a sofa in the corner of the reception area, I understood her reticence.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Postcard from America

My next-door neighbour tells me you had a terrible storm earlier last week that nearly washed you all into the North Sea. I’m sorry about that. 

Our farmhouse, which has so far survived 343 winters, simply shrugged and asked for another log to be put onto its roaring fires. Or so our housesitter told me, when I phoned her to see if it had blown away. 

“Yes, it was a bit windy this morning, but it was worse in Newcastle”. 

Worse, I understand, was a completely flooded Quayside. 

Well, if makes you feel any better, it’s been raining here as well. A real deluge battered homes, washed out drive-through hamburger joints, drenched the health food stores. 

It is strange to see Southern California in the rain. People don’t really have umbrellas or rain coats. They don’t even have gutters on the side of their houses – there’s no demand. They just drive their cars closer to the supermarkets and run for it in their white jeans and teeshirts.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What Daddy does at the football

Izzy burst into tears when I turned off Pixie Hollow to watch the game. 

The fairies were flying busily around the wood, minding each others’ business as fairies do, and then suddenly, without warning, mean Daddy turned them into magpies in black and white stripes, running and kicking a ball with some people dressed in red. 

When she’d calmed down, which was a whole chocolate biscuit later, I sat her on my lap and together we watched the game. It was her first football match.