Friday, 24 January 2014


Which reminds me.......

When I was travelling in India once with the Missus, we visited a Buddhist monastery. Quite a famous one.
We were shown round by a brown skinned, round faced monk - a refugee, I believe, from Tibet, and a follower of the Dalai Lama.
He gave us quite a tour, and quite a lecture. Especially, as I recall, on the subject of attachment. He urged us to free ourselves of attachment. Not bad advice, I thought, so I asked him if he wouldn't mind giving me his watch.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I can't. My mother gave it to me."


I haven't been reading this book.

If he was a monk, why didn't he give it away?

Sunday, 12 January 2014


My Dad used to joke that he was a collector - a collector of Fivers. In my lifetime he was not a conspicuously successful collector in that field.

He more successfully collected words. Odd ones. Arcane ones. Obscure and interesting words. Thus, at an early age, I learned of numismatics, graticules, micrometers, interstices and many more. This collection was housed in scraps of paper and notebooks, written in his beautiful, artistic hand.

He also collected small memories, often also written up in his notes. Recordings of the ordinary things in life around him, which he found, by dint of his own survival, shimmering and remarkable - the amount of raspberries or other crops yielded by his garden; the way a particular view looked on a particular Wealden evening; a sound of this or that bird, the taste of a toffee. Not big things. Small things. Small things noticed, though. Small things appreciated. Interstices, you might say, between the big ups and downs of life, the big happenings, the triumphs and disasters. An appreciation, and a contented awareness of what is happening when nothing is happening. What is going on, all the time, if only you stop to notice it.

These were his collection. Perhaps, too, his collection had a greater value than any collection of Fivers.

I find, as I return to this blog after an extended, indolent Christmas and New Year absence, that, if I have a New Year wish for others, and for myself, it is to be able to look at the interstices, the gaps, between notable events in our lives, and to collect with wonder and gratitude the million, million tiny spurs to contentment which are happening, every minute of every day just, in fact, as we think nothing much is going on at all.

May we notice, appreciate, collect and treasure.

Saturday, 11 January 2014


If I ever become a rich man,
Or if ever I grow to be old,
I will build a house with deep thatch
To shelter me from the cold,
And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
And the story of Sussex told.
I will hold my house in the high wood
Within a walk of the sea,
And the men that were boys when I was a boy
Shall sit and drink with me.


Thursday, 9 January 2014


Participants in a study were asked to map where they felt different emotions - which part of the body was stimulated (red/yellow/white) or deactivated (blue). One of the more interesting things I've seen recently.