Shopper’s Knee – a chronic condition predominantly affecting men when on shopping expeditions with female partners. Often mistaken for an attack of selfishness, the only known remedy is immediate rest and a swift intake of alcohol in a nearby bar.  The condition is indiscriminate: it can suddenly strike down men of all ages, during the weekly purchase of household sundries or, more commonly, the seasonal extended search for clothing.  (See also Chronic Family Gathering Fatigue [CFGF])


Wild Strawberries (a small tribute to Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping)

I’ve just finished reading Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.  I don’t know if my view of the book will settle down to something a little less extreme but as I type this I feel this is one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.  I usually mark books I own – deface them some might complain – with vertical lines in the margins; small reminders to help me navigate back to passages I have found especially compelling.  This technique was largely redundant with Housekeeping.  The whole of chapter eight, for example, would have required a vertical line along its margin.  I’m no book reviewer so I’ll finish with one small passage to exemplify, I hope, the precision and powerful elegance of the writing.

  “For need can blossom into all the compensations it requires.  To crave and to have are as like a thing and its shadow.  For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it?  And here again is a foreshadowing-the world will be made whole.  For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it.  So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again.  Though we dream and hardly know it, longing, like an angel, fosters us, smooths our hair, and brings us wild strawberries.”


Albert learns about the overwhelming and intriguing power of the flower


(Jean Arp – Man Seen by a Flower [1958])

Albert stares at the flower.

What kind of flower are you? he wonders.

The flower looks back at him.

You can label me, specify me, the flower thinks, if that helps you manage the situation.  The truth is, if you could truly absorb all my flowerness you’d never speak again.

Q&A included in The Drabble’s Best of 2016 list

Well this is a nice start to the new year.  Q&A, a little piece of mine, has been named by the two very supportive and generous editors of The Drabble blog as one of their ten favourites for 2016.

The post highlighting this can be found here.

This is second time The Drabble has supported a piece by me: they included ‘A Fresh Angle’ in last year’s list of their top ten.

The Drabble is a supportive space to share very short fiction and I heartily recommend it. The blog itself can be found here.

Happy New Year to one and all!  Here’s to new beginnings and fresh starts…..