The urge to play

The urge to play

This excerpt from an interview with a Russian writer brought up in Siberia, due to the political exile of her parents, demonstrates the child’s deep need to play and the imagination which led her to create her own dolls, despite poverty, exclusion and general...
Delight in small things

Delight in small things

A personage who takes delight in small things he finds on the wayside – I loved this eclectic selection of things spotted, gathered up, carefully placed and then returned to.  Even in the open countryside he retained his passion for play-things, and would carry...
Ping-pong purposeful

Ping-pong purposeful

The capacity of otters to play and to turn anything they find into a game, is breath-taking.  Here is one, having worked out the ludic possibilities inherent in the physics of ping-pong balls, setting off to entertain himself for an hour or two at a stretch.   You can...
The play of otters

The play of otters

Otters seem to be the most nuannaarpoqian of animals.  Their life skills, resilience, confidence and playfulness captivated me when I read the evocative classic Tarka the Otter, celebrated here with rich pickings of quotes and metaphors.  Another classic, Gavin...
Master of whirlpools

Master of whirlpools

I loved this entrancing description of joyous and playful mastery. Tarka is a splendid character depicted after months of close observation of his kind, by a man disaffected with humanity following the horrors of the First World War. Although often hunted, the animal...
Love of the earth

Love of the earth

If ever we needed to remember our love of the earth, it is now. I like George Eliot’s hypothesis that our love of it is anchored in our childhood experience of it. Get your kids – or yourselves – down to the park or into the country, and start...
One last game

One last game

Having given birth to cubs, Tarka’s mate goes her own way. But before they part company he calls her to play one last game at the bridge and she joins him there. I liked the timelessness of the otters’ game which Williamson suggests has been played since...
Across the divide

Across the divide

We play with dogs and cats and some other creatures.  I used to play with a fox in our garden in London: he made a show of taking my abandoned fleece delicately in his mouth and began pulling it off the table where I’d left it, all the while staring at me to see...
The purpose of life (I)

The purpose of life (I)

When I launched a website celebrating bright writing, a friend sent me this wonderful quotation, a refreshing reminder of much of the meaning of life. It mentions dancing, but I think people are living by this when they go for a bike ride and a picnic in a field or a...
Of raisin cakes and rose-petal jam

Of raisin cakes and rose-petal jam

A lovely description of happy moments of childhood, coming home from school, being given a ‘tartine’ of goat’s milk, cakes and jam.  Doing homework at the kitchen table before going to play in the street with friends and animals. ‘When she came...

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