A Dash of Etymology & A Poem Not Prose: Al-Jalama checkpoint revisited

The other day I posted a piece about my experience of leaving Palestine through a checkpoint in the north of the country. It was an experience that did not compare with any other in my life that I could think of. I found it utterly dehumanising. Yet it's an experience that many thousands of Palestinians … Continue reading A Dash of Etymology & A Poem Not Prose: Al-Jalama checkpoint revisited

A Difficult Exit: leaving Palestine

Palestine and Israel have been prominent in the news again lately and I've been reflecting on how stories are reported, the language used, and of my last visit. At the end of May I left northern Palestine through a checkpoint that I hadn't been through before. I was with my Scottish friend Jane. We were … Continue reading A Difficult Exit: leaving Palestine

Watching The Bees: on meditation retreat in Dartmoor

Recently I spent a week at the High Heathercombe Centre in Dartmoor. I camped overlooking a tor, alongside huge trees; ate deliciously healthy food, and practised old and new meditation techniques. It was a mainly silent seven days, to allow for stillness and insight to more readily arise. Reading and writing were discouraged. Apart from … Continue reading Watching The Bees: on meditation retreat in Dartmoor

Apricot Light: a new poem on rain, trees and other things

I recently went to Dartmoor National Park in Devon for a one week meditation retreat. It was organised by Freely Given Retreats and took place at The High Heathercombe Centre. The teachers were Nathan Glyde and Zohar Lavie who also run 'meditation in action' work retreats with Sanghaseva. Reading, writing, phoning, browsing, typing, talking were all discouraged … Continue reading Apricot Light: a new poem on rain, trees and other things

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