Least hop clover

Walks become botanising expeditions to an internal litany of names. Heal-all, toad flax, cranesbill; yarrow, tansy; a rare moth mullein, the ubiquitous birdsfoot trefoil. When a name escapes, the thing has escaped and the world is lessened until the name is recalled, rehearsed, fixed again in place. [Read more]

Bulgaria

One element is always on display at this hour: the spectacle of childless, two-income professional couples, one of whom will be resentfully walking their expensive, neurotic, designer dog, taken out each evening to wee on the border plantings and scurry back inside. [Read more]

On the bus

It is snowing and the streets are busy. The driver navigates with a fair bit of dash. We lurch forward when she makes a quick stop, from side to side when she veers around obstacles—not at all unpleasantly. [Read more]

Peter

Already dark by the time we got to the cloisters, Peter dawdled over a bit of glass here, a tomb design after Flaxman there, mostly to provoke a volunteer attendant, a retired military type, whose courteous remarks about closing time got more elaborately courteous as his patience grew strained. We were the last visitors and the man was no doubt eager to get to his sherry and slippers. Peter became yet more obtuse, finding yet other small treasures to linger over, drawing out for our benefit the rich absurdity of the scene. [Read more]