Robert’s good counsel

Barcelona – click once / twice (or pinch) to enlarge

‘Sorry, I’m a bit pushed for time today,’ I said to my friend Robert twenty years or so ago. ‘I’ve got to think of something to say to a large assembly of the Women’s Institute tonight. Their invitation asks me to speak on ‘any subject that takes your fancy’ and I’ve come a bit unstuck.’ ‘Nonsense!’ said Robert (and RSC will know exactly who he is!) – ‘just go and tell them about one or two things that really light up your life.’

So for an hour and a half or so I told a large gathering of women my story about what it had been like to live and study for a month on the very edge of Bethlehem, wandering into Jerusalem in the early mornings to buy my daily newspaper, about the colours of the souks, the sounds of the calls to prayer, the scent and the sound of olive groves, of sunrise, and of sunsets over the Judaean desert, of ancient history, and of contemporary youths singing together in groups outside, in late evening warmth, eating ice cream.

Many further such invitations followed. ‘You speak with stars in your eyes and in the telling’ one kind soul told me after an evening during which I’d thought I’d wittered on too much. How often, since, I have thought of Robert’s ‘tell them about one or two things that really light up your life.’ How very often since then I have noticed the things that light up my life. And though aware that tonight you won’t be able to hear me, I can nevertheless show you – as quickly or as slowly as you decide – some such recent lights in Barcelona, Cataluñya, España … with stars – and gratitude – in my heart x


12 thoughts on “Robert’s good counsel

  1. And as with light – it reflects to those who receive the gift of basking in it, and back to the one who emanated it to begin with. Your pictures are a mirror – of light and wonder and love. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Mimi. You know, I was wondering earlier today whether you are still able to spend some time at your mountain retreat? – and if so whether you ever take a camera with you?

      A friend and I were chatting the other day about what a wonderful resource photography is for sharing our world with family and friends that might not otherwise see it.

      Over the years I’ve rather enviously read dozens of novels about folks in the US who pack up their old 4x4s to the ceiling and head off to a wonderful wooden cabin somewhere North of the snowline.

      Real friends don’t nudge their friends into more work, I know, but I’d love to see the odd post / photo about your mountains!

      It’s a strange and wonderful thing to me that the USA I dreamed of in my childhood is still quite clear in my imagination (though I’ve only ever really spent any time in Louisiana).

      Where mountains are concerned – don’t laugh – I loved a scratchy old 78rpm and a song about ‘the blue ridge mountains of Virginia, on the trail of the lonesome pine …’

      I hope that you and yours are all thriving and looking forward to Spring. Love from both of us xx


      1. Ah, we haven’t been to the mountain house in far too long! With the move, the settling in and the hunt for the familiar have grounded me somewhat – but I look forward to seeing them again..xx


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