The high tide of the Equinox

The Sea covered most of the black rocks in front of the house by the Sea. Far, far away, the grey waves merged with the leaden sky. The Land was bracing, waiting for the final assault. The trees moaned in the howling Wind. The rocks shook under the crashing waves. The time had come. The…

The importance of wearing a mask

There still seems to be some debate about wearing a mask or not during the current pandemic. Blatantly ignoring the fact that cultures where masks are routinely worn in public seem to have fared – much – better. Singapore? Japan? Korea? Adversaries of wearing a mask appear to all be rednecks of various hues. All…

An African* childhood, part 3

The magic house, Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, c.1962. I’m sitting on the table, pondering the day’s next play. Little Sis walks down the stairs with her cast on her arm. Keep a safe distance lest she clubs you. The house may be long gone, the African village at the back has been replaced by rows…

An African childhood. Part 2*

En route to the Islands of Los, off the coast of Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, c.1960. Far left, my mother. Centre, Mme Lips, with her braided hair down to her… I remember she had very long hair for the time. Far right, Dominique and Claude Millet, who much later, would be my host family in…

The Colonel’s gardens. Epilogue.

Joy and sorrow. Birth and death. “The common lot of mankind”. Old Will would have said. Only a few months ago I wrote the story of a ceremony I’d witnessed as a child in Africa: the presentation to Society of the Colonel’s son. In the immediate years after Independence, the Colonel (whom I named Boubakar) and…

The Colonel’s gardens. An African childhood.

The gardens sloped down the small hill to the grey waters of the West African sea. The Colonel’s house was perched on top of the hill, a white, ordinary two-storey affair overlooking the ocean. The house had no particular charm, but the gardens were another matter. Trees everywhere for shade from the African sun: palm…

Pot-pourri six-and-twenty

Somerset Maugham used to write his numbers “backwards”, German-style: six-and-twenty, sex und zwanzig. I don’t know if that was the rule in “oulde” english. Maugham had his heyday around the thirties. I’ve never read english numbers written so by anyone else. Regardless, here is Pot-pourri six-and-twenty. Fasten your seat belts. The above: “Global warNing”. Paris,…

Pot-pourri 3 x 7 =

“¡Tierra y libertad!” (Land and freedom) Emiliano Zapata, one the leaders of the Mexican Revolution, 1910. Tlalpan, Mexico city. LA Seine. THE river. (What? I’m partial? Yeah. So?) The dark side, Camden Town, London, 2014. Toulouse Lautrec revisited. Mexico city, 2016. Detail, “Delight your senses”. I thought the dancer was “la Goulue”, but it’s Jane…