Words and Wordsmiths


Love Is Not Just For February


  I love icons and saints and saints’ stories and mark their feast days with the appropriate symbols and flowers. All except Saint Valentine. Poor Saint Valentine, he was hijacked by consumerism and the money spinners turned his celebration into a day fostering loneliness, disappointment,...

Into The Darkness


On November 9th 2016, still in bed, almost blind with disturbed sleep and terrified disbelief, I posted this: “Woke in the darkness to The Darkness. Everything is tumbling….stocks, hopes, pesos. The lights are going out all over the world.” “The Dark Ages” “The Dark Times”...

Leonard Cohen and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha


Inspired by Leonard Cohen’s “Be With Me” I made this collage of medals and relics in November 2010, possibly – sinfully – triumphantly justifying my hoarding of the family collection of such religious/superstitious – but also historically valuable – memorabilia and taliswomen. Leonard Cohen was...

The Seasons of Enlightenment


It’s not losing our glasses that causes us the most grief anymore, not even losing our keys or the odd sock….it’s our telephones.  Our personal telephones are like our gods, they are called a different name in each religion and each culture, but essentially, they...

When I Am An Old Woman


  It is the last Sunday in August on Lake Annecy.  It is 38 degrees, and I am alone, sitting at the dining table on the terrace, shaded by a loggia of jasmine, wisteria and clematis, eating my Sunday lunch, before packing my Stand Up...

Of Margaret Drabble and Brexit


  After a few episodes it became rather tedious, but there was one great song in the first series of the TV sit-com “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”  In the Bollywood style, the refrain to “I’m so good at Yoga” is “Look at me, look at me, I’m...

Stories From Ireland


There is an Irish writer called Kevin Barry and there is an Irish writer called Sebastian Barry and there is an Irish patriot-martyr who is also called Kevin Barry and between the lot of them, I was addled. But not any more.   In Cork...

Richard III at the Schaubühne Berlin


  How do members of the British Royal Family feel when they watch William Shakespeare’s historical plays based (albeit sometimes loosely, with literary embroidery) on the derring-do and dastardly deeds of the British Royal Family? Depending on the name given to one, or the title...

On The Feast of Saint Francis de Sales


      For the past week Berlin has been a softer city, its hard edges rounded and white with snow in sub zero temperatures.   Yesterday morning at seven o’clock it began to snow again, first a little powder then the lazy, crazy dance of...

My Neck of the Woods


  Over the weekend, it got progressively colder, which is as it should be of a Berlin January.   It was so cold on Saturday that on the square expanse of wind-whipped Alexanderplatz a young couple, laughing, hunkering down by the U Bahn entrance pulled...