“It’s a high-risk activity,” the doctor I’d never met told me, down the phone. The man was a stranger and here I was having to talk to him about cramps and diarrhoea so that he could pronounce sagely about the potential for me shitting myself in a field. That’s a possibility? You don’t say.
But St Hilda’s Way had been beckoning for months. We’d booked hotel rooms, consulted local bus timetables, contemplated sawing (more…)
A friend at Cambridge once described me as the only person she knew who would use the word adjunct in a normal sentence.
The same friend noted, one time we went cycling, that I somehow managed to maintain pretty much the same speed whether I was going uphill or down. I’d love to believe this was because I could power up hills with steel-thighed speed, but really I know (more…)
The ‘Yikes’ moment: when Shaggy and Scoob have been running so fast, legs ablur, that they don’t notice they’ve gone off the edge of the cliff—then realise and, with a wail, start plummeting. I love that: it captures an emotional experience I recognise. But, oh dear. If I’m giving existential readings of cartoons, maybe I’ve been a counsellor too long. Maybe I’m feeling unusual.
When Suan and I got back to (more…)
When I was 6 or 7, my Dad returned from a trip to Germany bringing me the most wondrous packet of felt pens I’d ever seen. They were double-ended, with a fat end for colouring large areas and a pointy end for detail. Forget previously-desirable Platignum and Pentel: in early-70s Aberdeen, this was serious Blue Petering kit. This was love.
Soon after, I announced that I wanted to be an opera singer when I grew up. Opera singers came from Germany (of course), so this would be the way (more…)
‘… and then you’d think aha! something interesting is going to happen and then someone would mention Derrida and it would all be over…’
Thus my friend Simon, speaking about his time reading English at Oxford and the death-by-theory thing which can so often happen during formal study. I know what he means. In my very first group supervision at Cambridge we were issued copies of a poem—I have repressed the knowledge of what it was, if I ever knew—and the Director of Studies’ opening gambit (more…)