Christmas Impossible

I hate airports. Stuff Hugh Grant with his 'my favourite place in the world is an airport' thing. The Arrivals part is brilliant - marred only slightly if you are the owner of the child dragging his brother along the floor by the foot - but sooner or later you're making that inevitable return visit to … Continue reading Christmas Impossible

A whistle-stop tour of southern England

If you'd like to know how you can tell my mum went back home to the States today, I need only say that we drove straight from the airport to a very large plate of steak and chips, spent the afternoon in pyjamas watching movies, and there was a point at which I sang along … Continue reading A whistle-stop tour of southern England

The old stones are the best

I fell in love with this city, once upon a time. Does everyone feel like their university years made them, in a way? Mine made me. And I slogged and read and thought and wrote so much I grew an extra head on one of my fingers, which wasn't always pleasant, but still. These buildings … Continue reading The old stones are the best

A good day for good company

It's true, it's true: days that start with sunshine can take you just about anywhere. Today we woke up and the skies were clear for the first time in several millennia. We flung open all of the blinds and had celebratory pancakes for breakfast. Then we followed the sun all the way to Oxford, and … Continue reading A good day for good company

Soul Food

Spring has finally, decidedly sprung: the cherry blossom trees are out!   Every year, the first time I see them, I think of my university tutor telling us that 'cherry blossom trees always flower when you most need them'. He was an old, tweedy gentleman with patches on his elbows, a moustache and a stammer, and saying … Continue reading Soul Food