A year ago, I was preparing to return to Guildhall School of Music & Drama where I was a student on the MA in Opera Making – an amazing programme (the only one of its kind in the world) that excavates and nurtures the idea and reality of close collaboration across and between all the art… Continue reading 2020: Year of Many Aprons. Part 2 of 2.
Egyptian pharaohs had aprons encrusted with jewels. Cretan fertility goddesses apparently wore aprons below bare breasts (see image below right). Masons still wear aprons – so do gardeners, cooks, barbers, shoemakers, medical workers. Down the centuries, and in all cultures, aprons have afforded protection, and they have been symbolic of work and status. As a… Continue reading 2020: Year of Many Aprons. Part 1 of 2.
We are all reacting to the rapid changes in our lives, as social distancing and self-isolation, and then CV-19 lockdown, settle on us. People talk about stomachs churning, moods swinging, about not being able to focus, feeling a sense of unreality, a disconnect. Fatigue. We talk of not sleeping well, sleeping too much, feeling anger,… Continue reading Same ocean, different boats: loss and grief in the time of Corona
My relationship with time (never a straightforward one, since I don’t really subscribe to linear time) becomes complex as I accrue within my memory and my body more and more evidence that time does, indeed, accumulate and pass. But as well as passing, time returns. Trees bud their leaves year by year, birthdays (of the… Continue reading Timepiece
Another threshold – and here we are counting what has gone before, guessing what might lie ahead. Moving away from, towards; over, across; out of, into. And taking stock: the media have told us what 2019 was about – the news stories, books and films have been rounded up. There isn’t, as yet, much real… Continue reading Stepping over into 2020
When we moved to Suffolk last year, I had to begin to create a new map in my head. I’m still doing it. On most journeys I take, even now, I have only a vague idea, if any, of what is beyond the path or the road or the railway track I am following (‘There… Continue reading Knowing a place
Our grown-up son is, for the moment, living alongside us in a small Studio that we converted from a garage a few months ago. The arrangement suits us all. He cycles to and from his two local jobs, he’s learning to drive, and as a musician he can make all the music he likes without… Continue reading Motherhood, time and sandwiches
Recently a friend sent me a short video of her baby grandson. I was struck all over again by how many fleeting expressions a small human being can rehearse in a few moments – in 30 seconds of moving image there were displays of intense pleasure, humour, astonishment, disgust, fear, anxiety, and again pleasure. The… Continue reading Faces in photographs
I’m fond of the homely rituals that come with midwinter, Christmas and New Year. I especially love decorating the house, putting up and taking down the tree and rediscovering cinnamon angels and glass baubles with their tender, freighted memories of other Christmases shared with other people in other places. It’s a time of so many… Continue reading Breading in the New Year
In the summer of 1952 my mother’s second son, Michael, died after contracting a gastro-intestinal infection. He was thirteen months old. All her life my mother carried that grief, virtually unable to speak it except to me. I am posting this poem for Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October), in memory of Michael and in… Continue reading ‘My mother with sweet peas’ – a poem for Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018