Thursday, February 27, 2014

I couldn't manage without my radio

I grew up with BBC Radio 4; it was invariably on in the background at home. Mum is a radio addict and I have inherited the predilection.

When I was about 14, the age my daughter is now, we went on a fantastic holiday to a villa in Andalucia, Spain. I found a small transister radio there, and discovered the BBC World Service.

I also discovered The Archers, 'essential drama from the heart of the country'.

I have listened to it ever since, no matter where I have lived. It's the one thing about being English that I wouldn't like to be without.

When I lived in NZ, teaching at a boys' boarding school, a friend would tape if for me from his farm in Northumberland and send out the audio cassettes to my upstairs flat in a little town on the North Island.

Now, thank goodness, I can listen to it on my iPhone. Each morning, I download the podcast at 6.30am and enjoy it with the first cup of coffee for the day.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I've got a thing about circles. I like their perfection, their lack of angular sharpness, their round softness, their completeness.

I like the way circles meet themselves on their way home; coming back to the beginning, as it were.

Life moves in circles, for most of us. We can see the patterns emerging as we dance new moves. We think we're changing tempo, but, invariably, the shapes we make are the same.

After nine moves in and out of Australia, we have come 'home' to a house built in 1937. Looking back over the old blog posts, I know that this period is a time I love to circle back to.

Everything we own looks right here. Our life fits well into these surroundings.

I've just seen my Mum onto the plane back home to Northumberland. There were many circles to our life there, when growing up. Those threads that shaped my early story.

The gift of this house, this current life, is transient. All the more precious for not being ours to keep.

Lorn Road Summerhouse, London