A Long Day: waking up in Israel, going to bed in Palestine 

One Friday morning recently I woke up in my friend Tomer's apartment in a town outside Tel Aviv. I had arrived from London the evening before and Tomer, who I had met picking olives the previous autumn in Palestine, had kindly picked me up from the airport. One of the first things he told me … Continue reading A Long Day: waking up in Israel, going to bed in Palestine 

Cycling Towards The Sea: freedom of movement

My plan is to post this piece on Thursday 11th May. I'm lucky enough to be going for a bike ride on that day with a friend who's recently returned to London after a few months overseas. Cycling is one of the things we like doing together. We plan a route, briefly disagree about what … Continue reading Cycling Towards The Sea: freedom of movement

Green Spaces, Ecotherapy and Stopping: the benefits of pausing outdoors

I started writing this on the train last week. It was the end of the Easter break and I was travelling through green, green countryside, heading away from Machynlleth in West Wales and back towards the Big Smoke of London Town. It felt like a good time to write about open space, trees, fresh air … Continue reading Green Spaces, Ecotherapy and Stopping: the benefits of pausing outdoors

Animal City: lessons from the animal kingdom, deep in the heart of a metropolis

Two or three weeks ago, I went to the London Review Bookshop to see the Devon-based poet Alice Oswald. She was in conversation with Bernard Schwartz who produces 92Y's Reading Series as Director of its Unterberg Poetry Center: "For nearly 80 years, New York's 92nd Street Y has been a home to the voices of … Continue reading Animal City: lessons from the animal kingdom, deep in the heart of a metropolis

Art Imitating Life: tourism starts acting up in Palestine

I've had a few conversations with friends about how great it would be if more tourists found their way to Palestine: an old land full of ancient places with familiar names; rotund olive trees grown wonderfully gnarled with time; and fabulously warm hospitality. Sadly, though, Palestine isn't normally associated with these things, and the culture is seen … Continue reading Art Imitating Life: tourism starts acting up in Palestine

Comedy in the Chaos: humour & connection in the midst of the storm

A couple of weeks ago I went to see the German film Toni Erdmann. It runs for two hours and 42 minutes and as a foreign language movie, billed as a comedy, I wondered beforehand if it might end up feeling like a long watch. But it had good reviews and I was keen to … Continue reading Comedy in the Chaos: humour & connection in the midst of the storm

Responding to The Age of Anger: at the LSE and on the bus

"Give it time...re-build trust". This was part of Pankaj Mishra's response to a member of the audience on Tuesday night when asked what we can do to stem the global tide of hatred and nationalism. Mishra had been talking with journalist Nesrine Malik at one of the early events of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival about his … Continue reading Responding to The Age of Anger: at the LSE and on the bus

House fire v. house demolitions: the difference a birthplace makes

Last week it was exactly a year since my flat caught fire. I expected to write about it here, to feel the pull to reflect on and pick over the event. But I found I didn't have much to say. I did walk around the house last week on that day feeling a bit slow, … Continue reading House fire v. house demolitions: the difference a birthplace makes

Switching Off, Momentarily: surviving the news deluge the middle way

Yesterday I sat down to eat my breakfast and got up again straightaway to turn the radio off. The news was on, it was Monday morning, my back felt out of sorts and I decided it was time for a break from the torrent of bleak updates from around the world and, principally, the USA. Contemplating the garden … Continue reading Switching Off, Momentarily: surviving the news deluge the middle way

Help Through Haikus

A couple of days ago I was walking along a beach near Lyme Regis. This part of the coastline is known as 'Jurassic' due to its ancient layers of sedimentary rock. Many fossils have been found in this area from 185 million years ago, telling us about prehistoric life. Picking over the past The day … Continue reading Help Through Haikus