Going to Work

September is nearly here. The new school year is starting and this year’s batch of graduates are looking for jobs and inspiration. But how many, I wonder, will end up doing something that they really love?

Sometimes it feels like we’re all in the wrong boxes. I know a dentist who longs to be an astrologer, a lawyer who would prefer to be an architect, and a computer scientist who thinks it would have been fun to be a historian. And even though I’m on my fifth career Continue reading

The Old Man and the Pea


I was supposed to be doing my art treat with artist, Claire Jackson, this week but I’ve had to postpone it. Hopefully this delay won’t be for more than a few weeks as it’s something I’m keen to do. But the reason for the change is that life has intervened in an unexpected way and suddenly I have new responsibilities to navigate. An elderly gentleman named Frank has come to live with me.

There is plenty of disagreement about the age at which someone becomes old and even more so about when they become elderly. In order to be eligible to be treated by a geriatrician you need to be at least 65. But whether someone is ‘elderly’ or not is largely dependent on whether they have health problems. However, in the case of my new housemate, Frank, there is no room for doubt. He is 95 and that is pretty old. When he was born in 1920 only half of male babies could expect to live beyond the age of 64.

Frank grew up in Walsall in the Midlands but in 1948 he emigrated to South Africa with his wife, and together they raised their family there. Eventually he was widowed and for the past few years he’s been living in a care home in Johannesburg. Although he didn’t complain, it was clear that he would love to end his days in England so that is why he has come to live in my house. And he’s not just any old 95-year old gentleman. Continue reading

Colliding Treats


Recently I spent a contented day walking a stretch of the North Downs Way in Kent. This 156 mile walk runs from Farnham to Dover and I’ve been doing it in stages for the past couple of years, sometimes with friends or family, but often on my own. This time I’d had a break of nearly a year and it was a treat to resume it and to walk through cornfields, along wooded ridges and down deserted dusty lanes, all alone. It was a rare bit of peace and a chance to appreciate the capriciousness of English weather. The sun seared my face and then shortly afterwards a smattering of drizzle chilled me.

I’ve got two long distance walks on my list of sixty treats. This one and the South West Coastal Footpath. On these kind of walks you can keep putting one foot in front of the other and for a while you’re relieved of having to think about life’s usual worries. You know roughly what’s going to happen next, but there’s always the pleasure of wondering what precisely is round that bend that you can see in the distance.

north downs way 1

On this occasion as I walked through deepest Kent, I pondered what to write for my next blog post and Continue reading