Berlin in June

Such beautiful blue skies! Parks, pleasure boats on the Spree and across the imperial parade ground a soft breeze from the east cools the walls of the restored Reichstag, and stands up the tricolour of black and red and gold. Through the warm afternoon, electric scooters bearing citizens glide to and fro. These mellow scenes […]

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Midsummer

Half of June lost down lanes of puddles, damp swallows ill tempering iron skies low over fields of bullocks mooing with the cold. In the verges hares nesting under hawthorn umbrellas, their tall ears bright wet. Each day reduced by rain falling, falling and bringing the light down with it, folding the village in grey […]

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Antrim after rain

We kill one hundred head of cattle each week explained the old man sitting back in his chair, a Presbyterian from the south with an ecumenical constitution and a paper napkin tucked over his tie so that crumbs from his cream bun scatter onto the boardroom table. And pigs to china: we send tonnes of […]

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To the river Avon via Grateley station

Beyond Wandsworth the Salisbury train gathers speed, the bright red upholstery putting up a stink in the July heat. A parched park gives back brown space between high-street shopfronts playing gold against the faces of bare-shouldered men and women queuing easy for evening fried chicken. Summer gardens snap open and close London purses showing their […]

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Raising boys

Against the mountain weather Jake is wearing a balaclava. Braced, completely concentrated, he is inching down the piste, Jake is eight and his thighs are wobbling with the effort, so that sweat licks down his red hair and his little skis rasp on the ice. Keep going Snake! I shout. You’re a beauty. Waiting for […]

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Leaving Switzerland

Beneath luminous mountains runs the autobahn. It is just before dawn and I am going along with my right hand on the steering wheel and my left reached back to hold my daughter’s hand. She is sitting still, staring through her dark window looking out for the year ahead, thinking of what has just been, […]

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New Year’s Day

Today, right at the beginning I hung the heavy bag. I bought a good jute rope and slung it over a high branch of the yew, my boys helped me out. I found the bag loaded with pain and a generosity all of its own, a guarantee of what life may give up if you’re […]

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