Archive For The “Strange encounters” Category

Sam for all seasons

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Sam for all seasons

Just after Christmas, my wife and I went for a week to our cottage in Brittany. Our key aim was to begin to prepare the garden for 2017. As usual, we stopped over for a day in Paris. There, the streets had the same tell-tale trappings as at this time every year. Dumped on the…

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Was that a white rabbit?

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Was that a white rabbit?

It’s confession time. Earlier this year I wrote that I was a compulsive chatterbox whenever travelling on busses or trains and that I had resolved to give the habit up [Pipped at the post, Greyhares, 5 May, 2016]. I failed. My silence only lasted a few weeks and I was soon chatting again at full…

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The power of observation

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The power of observation

Before setting off for our ‘holiday-of-a-lifetime’ I had my forebodings. However wonderful it might be, the prospect of spending a week on a small boat in the Pacific Ocean, out of touch and miles from medical care, seemed risky, even ill-advised. Accordingly, for an oldie such as myself, looking forward unreservedly to spending time in…

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The Man who taught his Dog to play Chess

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The Man who taught his Dog to play Chess

Can you teach a shaggy dog new tricks? Graham Dukes knows a man who can… Some seventeen years ago – yes, it was 1999 – I made up my mind to become famous.  It all started at a second-hand bookstall, where I picked up what had once been a correspondence course for budding writers of fiction….

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Sister in arms

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Despite an early start, dawdling had put me at risk of missing my train. Then things got worse when I broke the habit of a lifetime and got involved in  a discussion with a street vendor – this one ‘selling’ ideas. A tall, snappily-dressed, woman stepped out in front of me as I entered the station, pushing a…

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Flight or fright?

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It comes as no surprise, to me at least, that during recent trips to Paris there were moments when  staircases dominated my thoughts; on one visit the staircase was threatening, on the other it was seductive. Architecture has always fascinated me, indeed, in my early teens it was my dream career and, while there is…

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Sole contender

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Sole contender

Every Friday morning at 9.00am there is a race through the aisles of our Breton supermarket. Some hundred or so customers – young and old, alone or as couples – do the sixty metres dash from the shop entrance to the fish counter at the back of the store. There are a myriad routes, some contestants wriggle through…

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A bad case of le Willy’s

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A bad case of le Willy’s

Despite my misgivings [Reflections of a Postmodernist, 11 July 2014], buying a television for our cottage in France has proved worthwhile. Just this month it has allowed me to watch key events at the European Athletics championship, and my wife some favourite DVDs, but it has also revealed its limitations. Our subscription did not allow me…

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