Like serendipitous, serendipity is one of my favourite words, both for its sound and its meaning. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
And, like Brexiteer,post-truth and quidditch, it was a coinage. On this occasion the person responsible was gossipy Horace Walpole — another of my favourites. He was extrapolating from the now largely forgotten Persian fairy tale of the Three Princes of Serendip.
A present from the Universe, in fact!
Serendipity and Discovery
You could say that Columbus’s discovery of America was serendipitous. He was looking for a western route to Japan, after all. Continue reading →
Last year, we gave you Town Mouse and Country Mouse.
This year, we’re doing something vaguely similar.
It’s up to you to decide which Hive member is which in our Christmas card, below.
We know, of course, but we’re not telling 😉
Since it’s Christmas Day, you’ve probably got plenty to do.
So we won’t add many words — mostly festive pictures that we hope you’ll enjoy. Continue reading →
Opera! July 2015 was my month of three operas. Unless you’re Eric the Phantom (of the Opera), this probably sounds a touch excessive. It did to me, too, when I looked at the diary and saw what I had done.
But they were all just a touch odd. And very different.
Opera overwhelms me. I laugh, I cry, I sit on the edge of my seat at the drama. And there’s always a chance I will be exalted into out-of-the body bliss by the beauty of the music. The sheer power of an orchestra and chorus going quiet is tingle-up-the-spine time. I find opera mysterious, dangerous, sometimes almost threatening. Continue reading →
This is the tale of how an apostrophe changed my life. It made me open my mind, in spite of deeply entrenched prejudices, and endowed me with hours of reading pleasure I would never have expected in a million years.
Don’t like thrillers
Some years ago a colleague whose taste in books hardly ever chimed with mine, recommended a thriller he’d just discovered. “Fantastic plot”, he said. “Great writer. None of that stodgy grammar and fancy image nonsense. Just a plain man speaking plain thoughts.”
I groaned in spirit. “Lots of action?” He nodded enthusiastically. That meant dead bodies. Continue reading →
The Libertà hive had a little holiday last week which included viewing the Severn Bore. Not, I hasten to add, as these guys do it,
but from the relative safety of the bank. Hive members and cold water don’t mix.
You have to be impressed, not only by the spectacle and roar of the Bore, but also by the guys — and they were all guys, we noticed, some young, some not so young, but not a female in sight — who turn up in wetsuits with surfboards in order to try their luck with the wave.
Before the Bore arrives, the River Severn looks remarkably peaceful, as you can see, with a largish sandbank across about half its width. We were surprised at how shallow the water is here.
Look at those intrepid surfers. They turned up, in ones and twos, slid down the muddy bank where we stood and trotted out to join their mates in the middle of the river. Continue reading →
I am a writer. Plotting is part of my business. Which makes me a plotter-writer. Only — just sometimes — I forget it isn’t other people’s business too and they Don’t Want To Know.
When I got my first flat, I would go home every three or four weeks for a weekend. It was my one big opportunity to communicate with my father, who thought the telephone was for emergencies. Even face to face he didn’t chat much. So, after my mother had gone to bed, we would end up watching a late-night movie on television in affectionate but largely silent companionship.