Tag Archives: history

#437 Steeped in history

I am a history buff. Have been for years. I’m not exactly sure how it’s started, though I suspect a particular European history teacher in Exeter had a hand in it, making it interesting and all that (how dare he?) by somehow finding the ridiculous and the sublime in every era, every conflict, every revolution we…

#431 To human ingenuity

A while back I mentioned an intellectual friend from my college days whose Facebook I often find thought-provoking. His most recent pearl of wisdom that struck me this morning concerned the unfortunate fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. As countless others were, I was heartbroken to hear about the fire yesterday evening. I…

Day #309 The Dust of Life

The rule of scoring work swag is that you have to be in the right place at the right time. Or, as is often the case these days in large firms, looking into your inbox at the right time and clicking reply and send first and thinking through all of the details later. That’s how, earlier this…

I was discussing my post on my childhood memories of Russia with my mother the other day when she said to me "I have no recollection of Mama cutting up brown paper to use in the bathroom. Are you sure it was brown paper?"

"Yes," I replied. "It's one of my most vivid memories."

"Strange," my mum said. "I remember her singing while cooking, and sitting at the sewing machine, but not this."

"But surely you remember extended periods of not having any actual toilet paper available, right?"

"Oh, yes!" she assured me. "That was definitely the case, especially toward the end when we were there, it was very hard to get toilet paper anywhere. In fact, toilet paper was considered the best gift you could bring with you to a dinner party at that time. Much more appreciated than alcohol or cake!"

Postscript for Day #255 “Childhood Nostalgia”

Day #255 Childhood nostalgia

The last couple of weeks, my entry to and from our housing estate has been dominated by the heavily ripened rowan berries hanging above the gate (as well as other parts of the estate). The name “rowan” is actually new to me exactly as of fifteen minutes ago. I have been idly composing this post…

Day #181 Independence is a war you fight every day

I was back at work today after a tumultuous week full of hospitals and doctors’ visits and drugs for the whole family. It was a pretty ordinary day, but a few colleagues did stop to wish me a happy Fourth of July, or a happy Independence Day. The office canteen served up American style pancakes…