Thursday, 14 November 2013


A sandwich in the air, a cross-country train, for a few days staring joyfully hungry-eyed at rich medieval paintings and wandering streets full of the language my childish ears struggled with.

Somehow I came back from Berlin with not many photos in the camera, but many, many of them in stashed away in mind.

The nights fell early, but nothing seemed to close. We stayed up late talking in strange candle-lit corners; we ate cake for breakfast.

The city seemed under an enchantment where everyone was friendly, we were never cold, and a feeling of freedom hung on the breeze. Inside the great jewel boxes of museums we found not only incredible paintings, but wonders of all descriptions, like some giant lamassus and this tiny medieval wooden doll with articulated joints right down to its moving fingers and toes, which are not even as long as an eyelash.  

And back at home the days step back into their rhythm so quickly, as if we were never out of step with them for a moment. Or maybe I should say the hours come washing like waves do, always the same. Only, somewhere in the depths things have shifted slightly.  

Friday, 1 November 2013

1st of November

Always All Saints' morning in all ways the same: cold house, withered jack-o'-lanterns, piles of plates by the sink.

Turnips, rutabagas, swedes. Here they call them neeps. And that was what we carved out this year, scoring with knives and scraping with spoons at the hard roots for a long while to make 'neepy lanterns' that could be carried through the streets with glowering eyes.

They also keep bare hands warm in the cold, and give off a delicious burning smell.

A friend carved a pumpkin too.

And tonight there are roses and lilies on the table, and Hokkaido pumpkins that are waiting to be eaten. Outside there are crackles and bursts from firecrackers, and sometimes just a soundless burst of shuddering light from far off where sound doesn't reach.