Mince Pie Madness

  The Brits are crazy.  As an American I was absolutely sure of it.  Especially at Christmas time. When I first arrived in England, an American bride married to my Yorkshire husband, I was baffled by the fact that at Christmas, the busiest, most stressful, most here-and-there-and-everywhere time of year, they spend this most food-clogged… Continue reading Mince Pie Madness

The Magnificent Clash of Cultures

“Miss Judy, will you come on Thursday to share our bread and salt, as we say?” “Oh, thank you for the invitation.  I would love to come.  But bread and salt are all I will share, because in the evening we Americans have our Thanksgiving celebration, with a big feast.” “Good.  We normally do not… Continue reading The Magnificent Clash of Cultures

GRRRRRR!

Whatever is this world coming to?  I looked again at the document.  “I can’t sign this,” I said.  No punctuation marks.  A relative clause so far from its parent verb that it wasn’t even a distant cousin.  A spellcheck-reliant secretary who didn’t know the difference between “apologies” and “apologises”.  What kind of trust could I… Continue reading GRRRRRR!

The True Planet Savers

  The Ping that started it all. Do you ever hear an incidental passing comment that suddenly goes ping!  in your brain but you don’t know why?  And you have to pursue it even if it leads nowhere?  This happened to me when someone casually mentioned “Widemarsh Ventures.  “They collect all sorts,” he said, “and turn… Continue reading The True Planet Savers

Sandwich Stories

The Earl of Sandwich.  John Montagu’s cribbage addiction has given, what the Wall Street Journal states, is “Britain’s biggest contribution to gastronomy”, which is a bit harsh, but probably true.  The Earl of Sandwich (in Kent, by the River Stour ) didn’t want to eat meat with his bare hands because it messed up his… Continue reading Sandwich Stories

Mary

Panic.  “Oh no, here I go again!” I said  as the heart pounded, fear gnawed my insides, hands perspired, and brain locked rigidly into Danger mode.  Logic and clear thinking would now be suffocated by the black cloud of confusion and self-hatred.  This is a lifelong experience.  It always happens when I have to find… Continue reading Mary

Busted Cover

  Shame, they say, hates being shared. Once shared it can’t survive. Shame loves secrecy.  A few years ago I, a closet non-gardener, stupidly infiltrated a herb garden workshop hoping for cooking ideas. The situation turned itchily uncomfortable early on. The place was huge, and when I heard participants comparing this to “Charles and Camilla’s… Continue reading Busted Cover

Our Dog the Drama Queen

Did you ever have a dog that feigned disability? We did. When growing up in India we had a cocker spaniel named Tuffy (because, my sister said, he was all black except for a white “tuff” at his throat.) Distemper shot. When a puppy, my doctor-Dad ordered distemper vaccine from the USA and administered it… Continue reading Our Dog the Drama Queen

Nowruz!

Nowruz! The Amazing Zoroastrians Oh dear. We missed it –Persian New Year. Why, you ask, is that important to our culture here whose immediate worry is how to find hand gel, toilet paper, and tinned tomatoes in empty-shelved grocery shops, where every bit of community comfort is denied to us because we can’t hug? WELL,… Continue reading Nowruz!

An Age-free Community

A strange meeting  Although there was no one in sight in this vast empty 360- degree landscape, the footsteps were spookily audible. The air was clear, scented with wild herbs, a breath-taking change from Tehran’s pollution below. And silent! Blissfully so. Up to now. I continued my puff up this exquisite 4000 metre mountain. At… Continue reading An Age-free Community