Guardians

What are the guardians of order thinking as they peruse the open spaces before them and the people gathering or passing by? There they are outside Buckingham Palace in their red jackets and bearskin headgear endlessly perused by the public day in, day out. I admire...

Aleppo

I did not want to paint this word-picture, but Aleppo has crept into the news again, pulling a shroud in its wake. My memories; its wake. A rugged fortress with crusader connections overlooked a vast labyrinth of streets that seemed to wriggle, half-underground, in...

Conscience

‘Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all…’ Hamlet Is there a deep, unreconcilable fault line in British democracy that is snagging the conscience of many in the Westminster ‘mother of parliaments’? I did not often agree with Mrs Thatcher, but how wise she was to...

Harbinger

Each year I see snowdrops not only as the harbinger of spring when the earth awakens from its winter sleep, but also of hope. The word ‘harbinger’ derives from ‘herberge’ or lodging, denoting protection, like the French inn, the ‘auberge’. The harbinger was someone...

Incomers

I’m not often irritated by young children, but when my friend’s five-year-old kept on coming up close to look at my face and repeat ‘blood’, I thought he was just trying out a new word and brushed him off, a trifle impatiently. But though the tiny spot on my nose...

Terezin

I have just spent an unsuccessful ten minutes searching for a page of the Sunday Observer that I cut out to keep. Strangely, it too was about loss – a long pink column to the right of the page, blank below the name of a female poet who was at Terezin. Some years ago...