Archive of ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ category

JOY: my garden

Someone once said: “Gardening is cheaper than therapy…and you get tomatoes.” I think that pretty much sums up why I do it – all those hours spent digging, weeding, seeding, composting, pruning – so many gardening words that I have grown (pun intended) to love. It’s the feel-good factor that counteracts the exhaustion, and yes – the rewards: sweet, juicy tomatoes…among other things. If the definition of JOY is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness” – then working in my garden gives me that, and more. (more…)

Spike Milligan and me

As a twenty-something, I came to England from the U.S., hoping to get a job with a work permit. One night an English friend took me to see Spike’s one-man show at the Mermaid. I hadn’t a clue who he was but went along. My friend laughed uproariously during the entire show but as I was a fairly new arrival to these shores, I’m ashamed to admit that most of the jokes went over my head.

My friend then dragged me backstage so he could say hello to one of the crew. There I spotted Spike, all alone, plucking out ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ on a guitar. Naturally, I started to sing it. ‘Oh, you like jazz,’ he said, suddenly noticing me. ‘Maybe we could go out some time.’ (more…)

My Afternoon Tea with Henri Cartier-Bresson

No pantheon of the greats in the history of photography would be complete without the name of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Using his trademark Leica camera and unobtrusive 50mm lens, he produced some of the most iconic images in a career that spanned more than 60 years. Considered by some to be the father of photojournalism, Cartier-Bresson’s photographs captured ‘the decisive moment’ which he describes thus: ‘There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see the composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera….Once you miss it, it is gone forever.’ (more…)

A Train Passage in India…with apologies to EM Forster

‘You follow,’ instructs the wiry, modestly clad porter at Mysore train station. He and his ‘assistant’ lug our very heavy cases, depositing them and us in the air conditioned second class carriage that has been booked for us. Alan and I are the only non-Indian passengers.

The carriage is painted a dingy mid-green; even the window glass is painted, most likely to keep out the intense sun. Enjoying the decent leg room, we settle down comfortably for this non-stop four-hour trip to Bangalore.

After about an hour, a young Indian comes through, cheerfully handing out refreshments – bottled water, biscuits and juice – all included in our ticket price. South West Trains – are you reading this? (more…)

American Rant – Expatriate’s Blues

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this country. I’m here by choice. What’s more, I’m one of you: a citizen. But over the years some Brits have said some very annoying things to me. I’ve decided it was time to stop ‘keeping a stiff upper lip’ and instead tell all.

Did you know, for instance, that there are about 250,000 Americans living here in the UK? I imagine many of them have had similar experiences to mine. I’ve decided to appoint myself their unofficial spokesperson and the following ‘rant’ is in order to perpetuate our ‘special relationship’. (more…)

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