The chocolate question

The chocolate question

A boy is presented with a new aspect of chocolate when he meets a rare species: a child who may at some point have been permitted to eat as much of it as they wanted.  He is duly impressed. “It’s got every sort of chocolate you can think of,” I went on: “soft...
Miss Mann’s yearning

Miss Mann’s yearning

Charlotte Bronte reminds us of a deep longing often hidden beneath layers of life.  A few weeks ago, we visited a medieval hamlet in Sardinia, which despite a few tourists and sights, was apparently showing signs of abandonment.  We saw an old man sitting on a bench. ...
Conveyor belts of civilization

Conveyor belts of civilization

Wine as a key constituent of our civilization, and I liked the idea of its being moved on great conveyor belts of happiness. For much of Europe, civilization has been intimately and happily tangled up with wine  – the essential element in wave upon wave of...
Nuannaarpoq now on Instagram

Nuannaarpoq now on Instagram

Fellow nuannaarpoqians, please feel free to also follow us on our recently launched Instagram account: @nuannaarpoqcafe See you there and thank you for your continuing support.   All good things,...
The blue of the hyacinths

The blue of the hyacinths

The poet Rilke, writing to Elisabeth Ephrussi, told her to: ‘Look into the blue of the hyacinths.  And the spring!’  Well?  What are we waiting for?  Let’s go and find a hyacinth and then inhale its heady perfume! And meet their wild cousins, the...
Song for a seal

Song for a seal

A marvelous moment shared by the poet Elizabeth Bishop, conveying a connection across species and elements, as a seal allows a human to sing for him, a common interest in music binding them across the water-land divide. One seal particularly I have seen here evening...
The thread of love (ii)

The thread of love (ii)

An unusual presentation of love as being woven from threads of fulfillment.  This is how I always thought of it, without having found the words, and how I have found it to be.  Saint-Exupery’s love-fabric also echoes a simile by Mary Webb.  This is the veritable...
Go and look at flowers

Go and look at flowers

A wonderful story of a woman who decides her grandchildren need to spend more time looking at nature and talking to people.  I loved her humorous and decisive course of action and the fact that she was so loved by her family that they forgave her technological...
How to extend your lifespan

How to extend your lifespan

A Russian woman who lived in Abkhazia describes a local custom we might all like to adopt.  As a means to extend your lifespan, I can’t think of anything more delightful. According to Abkhazian custom, the time you spend with guests around the table...
A bouquet of kindness

A bouquet of kindness

This Russian writer remembers moments in her harsh Siberian childhood where someone showed passing kindness and in so doing, made her and her sister feel they were recognised as human beings.  Coming as they did from a family of political exiles, in a system where the...
Of open gates

Of open gates

An image of both friendliness and security, a place where you can leave your gate open. Eventually they reached an open gate – open because in those days life in the country was so secure that a closed gate signified either unfriendliness or else that the owners...
Afternoon tea (I)

Afternoon tea (I)

Must be the Brit in me, but I love detailed descriptions of sumptuous teas and picnics, although I have failed to win my Italian husband over to either concept.  So abject has my failure been that when I once mentioned a picnic, he innocently asked, ‘But why do...
Like a cradle-song

Like a cradle-song

Such a comforting line this, from a letter by the German poet Hölderlin. The sky and the air embrace me like a cradle-song.May they embrace you, too.  And here is another thought of Hölderlin, on a peaceful state of work; and in another letter, his admiration for a...
Relationships matter

Relationships matter

Saint-Exupery highlights the essentials of life revealed at the moment of death.  A reminder to be conscious of the mesh of relationships binding us to life, while we live.  And I would expand the notion to include our relationships to places and other species. When...
First taste of freedom

First taste of freedom

Freed from labour camp in September 1953, following the demise of Stalin, the few survivors still standing left the camp and headed for the nearby village, where they were given a simple, spontaneous and sensitive welcome.As I was thinking this a girl between eight...
A grandfather’s love

A grandfather’s love

The Hungarian poet Faludy gives an enticing description of his grandfather, seen through a boy’s eyes.  I like how he pitches his speech appropriately for a child, consciously or not.  Also the idea that his words sunk into the young mind, and were understood...
No outward seeming

No outward seeming

Indeed, often when you love, you take in a whole person, sometimes in an instant, and don’t create a composite of features and qualities. And much of what you respond to is intangible and even invisible.  How did he look?  What like was he?  Was he...
Enduring friendship

Enduring friendship

The cool and collected Narziss finally tells his lifelong friend Goldmund how much he means to him.  Goldmund wanders the world for years, the wilder of the two, and perhaps in some senses the less wise, eventually returning to his childhood home, and friend-mentor...
The thread of love (i)

The thread of love (i)

This lovely metaphor for love is from a fine story of it by Mary Webb. I found this quotation around the same time as another by a quite different writer, Saint-Exupery, which similarly refers to the weaving strands of love.I thought maybe love was like that – a...

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