Putting my French degree to good use

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I went to university in Paris, which, amongst other things – you know, strolls along the Seine, visiting museums (though never the one I lived opposite for a year), getting double-decker trains – involved a lot of trips to boulangeries and patisseries. Before I learnt to cook properly, and, afterwards, when time was short or I felt lazy, a lot of my meals involved a baguette, and no picnic in a park or by the river or canal was complete without one.

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2016 in review

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with three of my friends to set fire to 2016. In the garden, under the full moon, with candles. We each wrote down what we want to leave behind in 2016, and what we welcome for 2017, then we read them out to one another and set fire to them. It was cleansing and very good to focus our attention on something tangible, rather than howling at the horrors of the year (though that is also valid and important). Now, as the sun sets on New Year’s Eve, I wish I could say I’m feeling cheerful and ready for the year to come, but I’ve got a disgusting cold and have had to cancel my plans, as I’m unlikely to be awake at midnight. My impulse is to try to counter that with relentless positivity, but even I can’t manage that on its own, so I’m trying to look at the year in balance. Continue reading “2016 in review”

The Wind Singer – William Nicholson

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In Aramanth, exams are everything, deciding where people should live and what they should wear. When Kestrel rebels, her family are sentenced to the harshest punishment. In order to save them and to restore happiness to Aramanth, Kestrel knows she must restore the voice of the wind singer, an ancient statue standing in the city’s square. She embarks on this dangerous mission with Bowman, her twin, and along the way they encounter Mumpo, the silly, smelly school dunce who adores Kestrel. Their daring journey encompasses the Mudpeople, the malevolent Old Children and bloodthirsty desert tribes. Continue reading “The Wind Singer – William Nicholson”