Foreign Bodies

“Do you always swipe right for younger guys?” the Czech 28 year old messages me. Let’s call him Vaclav. “Mainly,” I reply. “Do you prefer older ladies?” He’s not even That Much younger than me, this one. 28 is practically a grown-up. “I tend to find older women less boring, they are able to teach […]

New Bright Young Things

Now that I’m back in the country, The Bright Young Things are bombarding me with Tinder messages. This, from a 25 year old banker: Do you always swipe right on younger guys or am I a lucky one? Me: I like them quite young (plus dancing girl emoji) Him: Well I’m sure you have no […]

The Homecoming

Home to torrential rain, some of course inside the parental home. There are little puddles on the kitchen and dining room floors where the new electronic windows leak. “The new windows are leaking,” Dad says, sliding across the wet floor, with the tragic, mournful tone of one reporting the death of the last tiger in […]

The Pit and the Pendulum

My mood hasn’t even been up for two months yet and usually I get four or five months before it crashes. Back in bed after breakfast I’m feeling a tiny bit miserable though: a mini-dip perhaps after the soaring heights of the last couple of weeks. Hopefully it’s just because this is the last day […]

An Expedition

At last – a walk out into the countryside around the Retreat . Maybe there will wild boar, wolves or even bears. The wheat has just been harvested so there are short stalks where mice and voles scurry and there must be raptors feeding on them somewhere. “Is that an owl?” I ask one of […]

Baths, Banks and Big Cats

If only you could store baths-you-have-taken in a bank to draw on when you simply can’t manage one, I find myself thinking as I lie in my second bath of the day. Oh it seems so easy now: running a bath, slipping into it, sinking under the bubbles. Those long winter weeks of depression and […]

Evil Under The Sun

Gazing out of the window across the grounds of the house, towards the river, I settle down to write. The river flows – the River Styx, hurtling towards the underworld. There’s even a little rowing boat. The arched wooden bridge could be the one in My Cousin Rachel, which now seems A Bad Sign because […]

The Kraken Wakes

Lying on my back in the bath after my pre-breakfast swim, my gaze drifts to my scar, as it often does. The area just above my scar looks different: there’s a new bumpiness and redness to it. Running a fingertip over it, I feel a jolt of recognition as I realise that the cancer is […]