A Brush with History

EM Forster Isaiah Berlin I was playing ‘ducks and drakes’ on our local pond with two school friends when I felt a shiver of apprehension. A tall man appeared suddenly and stood silently watching us. He didn’t even greet us, just stood there and...

Snowdrops

Every year, whatever the weather, I go on a snowdrop walk. It is the most memorable winter one, as if there has been a woodland wedding with white confetti scattered willy-nilly under the trees, but they are delicate white petals shimmering like bells stroked by a...

Unbelievable

I’m perplexed. Not too many years ago it would have been thought unbelievable that the so-called ‘heart of modern democracy’ – the capitol building at the end of the Mall in Washington in the state of Columbia, U.S.A. – could be assaulted by a horde of irate...

Status

There is a strange stillness before the first frost dusts the mown grass white. In time past, before central heating, there was surprise and delight when one threw back the eiderdown into the freezing morning to find frost had painted delicate, spidery leaf patterns...
Worthy

Worthy

This is the word that immediately springs to mind to describe Joe Biden, the next president of the USA. Worthy. Should I feel a tinge of guilt as well as relief? I should perhaps be more enthusiastic. Well, there is the question of age, and the irritating sequence of...

Mellow Fruitfulness

The consolation of an autumn prelude to winter is the return to a poem I can never forget since I chanced upon it as a teenager. ‘Season of mellow fruitfulness Close bosom-friend of the retiring sun…’ Keats, so young, so unaware that his life would be tragically...