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...

BOWIE


  Monday morning. Wake up world, David Bowie is dead. Reflex reaction is “may he rest in peace” but there’s no emotion; this icon passed me by.   Three days later I’m saturated in techicolour, glitter, smoke and stardust, gold and silver, music, cigarettes, coifs,...

Once In a Very Blue Moon


  We set off down the road to Albertville, through the tunnel of Frejus into Italy on the morning of July 31st not THE worst day for travel in France, not ‘Black Saturday’ but merely ‘Red Friday.’ The roads over the mountains were surprisingly clear....

THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON


One of my Goddaughters, Lucy Pearce, runs “Be Your Own Publisher” e-courses and a publishing business, which includes editing and production and writes a blog. Her latest entry “Stranger than Fiction” ( http://dreamingaloud.net/2015/07/stranger-than-fiction/) I found not stranger than fiction at all, but absolutely understandable and...

Talk to Me of Mendocino


  In my Alma Mater, a convent boarding school, we were admonished that “When a woman whistles, Our Lady cries.” I have always whistled and the only respite I got from wimpled wrath was when workmen were renovating in the school grounds. I could whistle...

The Divine Comedy of Thomas Merton


  With age comes (some degree of) wisdom. I have done so many stupid things over the decades, I do not really deserve still to be alive. F’rinstance: Aged about 9, I used to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to walk beside...

Sex and Drugs and no Sausage Rolls


It was the second worst reception I have ever attended. (The worst ever was after the Tour de France set out in Ireland in 1998 and when they had raced as fast as their carbon fibre and Lycra would carry them up a ramp and...

“Queen of the Desert” The Answer Werner Herzog was too politically polite to make


“Somewhere in the letters home of Gertrude Bell, the doughty English archaeologist and colonial administrator, there is a description of a pleasant afternoon spent riding in the Mesopotamian desert in 1918 or 1919. Bell trails a walking stick in the sand. Behind her, Arab boys...

Berlinale 65, 2015. 2


    Oh the frustration! I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. The on-line booking system for tickets for the Berlin Film Festival is a mine field, a backwards and forwards relay race which ALWAYS results, when pressing the last button for payment…..in...
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