Alpujarras in February

Another quick jaunt, this time to southern Spain and the Alpujarras, made famous, in part, by the books of Chris Stewart. This corner of Spain is quite different to the open plains of Extremadura where birds, and particularly birds of prey, abound. In the Alpujarras, it is rare to see these wild beasts. They are are shot from the sky and smaller birds are caught in nets. But we did not go to the Alpujarras for birds. This trip was focussed on three mountain walks, a visit to the Alhambra Palace in Grenada, and another to the Picasso Museum in Malaga, all packed into 6 days including the travelling days. Alpujarras SpainFirst evening, a short walk into the almond groves.Alpujarras SpainFirst morning, in Lanjeron, looking for Panaderia Jiménez – the baker.

Alpujarras SpainThe empty main street of Lanjeron

Walk 1: Acequias del Poqueira.

Alpujarras SpainChimneys on the roof tops of Capilerira

Having found the baker and spent a bit too long enjoying breakfast in the rising sun, we were too late in the day to get the full way around this 17km circular walk. Had we driven as far as the disused hydro station, a few km above the village, we might have done it. As it happens, the lower section of the path was particularly beautiful. The highlights of this walk were the distant snowy peaks coming in and out of view, the steep terraces hosting goats and cattle across the valley, the bubbling acequias (aqua-ducts) and a herd of curious Ibex.Alpujarras SpainAlpujarras Spain

Alpujarras SpainCampileria

En route down the incredible twisting road back to Lanjeron, we stopped briefly to look back up to the village of Campileria, visible just above the sun-lit wintery branches, mirroring the snow on the mountains above.Alpujarras Spain

Walk 2:  Pueto Palo Loop

Alpujarras Spain

This 13.5km valley walk passed through mixed forrest and then up and around a lovely mountain pasture following a beautifully maintained acequia. It was sufficiently warm for us to picnic on its bank and doze in the sun. The return part of the walk was down a wide forest road, easy walking. With time on our hands at the end of this walk we drove up to Trevelez, the highest village in mainland Spain at 1476m, and the home of Serrano Jamon. We arrived just as the sun was setting. It was very cold up there. We warmed up in a small cafe, muscling in on what appeared to be a family celebration. One of us was treated to the delights of Jamon Serrano, the speciality of the region. That same one, was sorely tempted to purchase a hind leg to bring home. The other, being a sensible type, pointed out that it might not fit in her carry-on bag.Alpujarras Spain

Walk 3: Albunuelas – Cruz Chiquita

Our third and final walk started in the village of Ablunuelas. This is a lovely village hugging the edge of a canyon. We struggled to find the start of the path and eventually an old women with whom we had quite a conversation, which neither side fully understood, insisted on accompanying us to the top of the village and send us on our way.

Alpujarras Spain


Alpujarras Spain

Alpujarras Spain

Alpujarras SpainAlpujarras SpainAlpujarras SpainAlpujarras Spain


Alpujarras SpainAlpujarras SpainAlpujarras Spain

Alpujarras Spain

Alpujarras Spain

Alcazaba, Arms Square

Alpujarras Spain

View of Granda from the Alcazaba Tower

Alpujarras SpainAlpujarras Spain

Alpujarras Spain

Sala de Dos Hermanas, exterior

Alpujarras Spain

Looking up into the fine stucco work of the dome of the Sala de Dos Hermanas

Alpujarras Spain

Patio de los leones

Alpujarras Spain

Alpujarras Spain

Mirador de Daraxa

Alpujarras SpainAlpujarras SpainAlpujarras Spain

Even if visiting off peak, it is important to purchase tickets in advance. Entrance to the Nazrid Palace is restricted. We arrived by 7am on February 19th having been told we could buy tickets on site. However, on that day we could only buy tickets to the garden and not to the Palace. Fortunately, we were able to buy tickets online. The early start was worth it just to have the place to ourselves. We spent a good 8 hours at the Palace. We had lunch and afternoon tea at the excellent Parador which lies in the heart of the complex.  Under no circumstances venture into the Guadelope Hotel for refreshments, even though it is close the main entrance. The coffee is appalling! We drove back to base via Orgiva and the very nice Teteria Baraka restaurant. By coincidence, this Moroccan restaurant is on the Guardian readers top 10 list for best restaurants in rural Spain!

On our final day we visited the Picasso Museum in Malaga. Based at the foot of the Malaga Alcazaba we took a circuitous root to get there, climbing the very steep path to the top and down again. From the top there are expansive views of the port and the Med and you can imagine of the north coast of Africa just beyond the horizon.

Perfect web site for walks:






Short break? Welcome to Butley!

With the days getting noticeably longer and spring around the corner, the Aldeburgh Festival programme just published, it is time to fix up a weekend away!

Please consider a few days at our place in Butley. It is lovely for couples and groups up to six. It is cosy and spacious in equal measure. The surrounding countryside is great for cycling and walking and is excellent for birds.

For bookings, please contact us.

The village pub, The Butley Oyster, re-opened last year, and serves its own beers.  It now hosts the village shop. In the barns there is a spanking new 21 seater cinema. Rock up with a DVD, buy a beer and pop corn, relax and enjoy!

DSCF4425The old cottage and the new extension

DSCF4422The garden

ButleyCottage dinning room

ButleyPrincipal bedroom in the extension

ButleyOrford Castle in the January frost

ButleyButley River in winter with foot steps over the mud

ButleyButley river summer 2017

DSCF2616Flock of Avocets on the Butley river

DSCF2625Reed bed at Butley Mills

Cottage garden

DSCF6460Shell Line at Shingle Street


Rough and Tumble

This short blog is more about the tumble than the rough – tumbling blocks if truth be known.

A friend had rediscovered a block-printed sheet that she had bought many moons ago on a trip to India. She asked me to turn her sheet into a quilted bed spread. I was keen to learn how to stitch tumbling blocks and so, rather than make a plain backing for her quilt, I decided to do deviate.  Below are photos that describe the creation of ‘Chrisie’s Quilt’.

Cutting and stitching strips.

Cutting left and right hand strips

Preparing the block pieces

Rows of ‘3d’ blocks.

Getting quilty with free motion.

It was while learning how to free motion on my sewing machine that I discovered how to ‘lower my feed dogs’. What a revelation!

End product. What next?

Extremadura ‘Phlog’

28 April to 2 May 2017

Early departure at 03:45 for a flight to Madrid from lovely Luton. Temperature on arrival a mere 3 degrees centigrade.  Extremadura boasts a wide variety of  habitat (Cork and Holm Oak forests (Dehesa), grass land, rivers, reservoirs, scrub, mountains) and low human population with the result that it supports a wealth of wild life.  Having some insider ‘birding gen’ certainly is critical for the hard-to-find species, but quite frankly,  it is amazing what a non-expert could spot along the quiet roads and byways without too much effort.  The land scape was sweeping and colourful with a back drop of the Sierra de Gredos mountains, snow capped and rising to 2,591 at Pico Almanzor.

We dropped bags at Villar de Plasencia, a maze of a village where we got quite disoriented. This became the norm in most of the villages we travelled through. The road map was hopelessly lacking in detail but made for some exciting driving on incredibly narrow and sometimes steep streets, watched by bemused residents.  We headed to Puerto de Tietar in Monfrague National Park and with patience were welcomed by a Spanish Imperial Eagle as well as Griffon Vultures, Black Kites and Egyptian Vultures.

The following morning the weather was poor. We explored the Embalse de Arrocampo-Almaraz where there are a number of hides, ideal to escape the worst of the rain. These however proved a mixed blessing – one had a door that would not open, one had a door that once opened, would not close, forcing us to sit in a howling gale. The last had no seating, so it was impossible to see out of the hatches. Fortunately the weather cleared and hiding no longer a necessity. We saw, black shouldered kite, little bittern, swamp hen and purple heron, Spoon Bill, amongst much else.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Purple Heron, Swallows, Sand Martins and Swifts

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

White Stork

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Cattle Egrets and Black Winged Stilts

We drove to Salto del Gitano and the Monfrague Castillo in the heart of the National Park. The sun now high in the sky, Griffon, Black Vultures and Black Kites cruised, drying their wings after the rain. Also a wonderful sighting of Black Storks, far less prevalent elsewhere than their white counterpart.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04


Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Black Stork

We climbed the steps up to the castle and then up the tower. We followed the path down to the river. The walk made me realise that our planned hike up Breche de Roland later in the summer, was going to be more of a challenged than previously reckoned, cancer treatment through the winter having knocked me back.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04


Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04


2017 04 Extremadura Andy's photos

That evening we supped on fried Dorade at Villar Real de San Carlos.

The following morning we were up for the dawn and out looking for Western Orphean Warbler.  Alas it eluded us due to gale force winds and driving rain. Next stop Embalse de Talavan.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Then on to Rio Almonte to seek nesting Alpine Swifts. After a while we realised we were at the wrong river crossing. Eventually we found the correct bridge but no Alpine Swifts. However, we did get a rare sighting of a lovely Golden Eagle.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Old and new roads over the Rio Almonte

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

The roads were so empty we could reliably stop bang in the middle

That evening we landed at Casa Rual El Recuerdo, just south of Trujillo, home of Martin Kelsey whose knowledge of the bird populations is unsurpassed. The following morning armed with Martin’s clear directions we went in pursuit of Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and Rollers all of which we saw.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Trujillo in the morning haze

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Corn Bunting


Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Roller boxes on electricity pylons

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Scrub and grassland

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

At sun down, we walked 2/3rds up one of the village lanes and perched ourselves on a sun-warmed stone wall. Holding our breath, we listened for a Red-necked Nightjar. The weather was perfect, warm and still. Insects, particularly moths, in abundance. And then we heard it – a car alarm. That’s it! The bird soared right over our heads, circled, and came back over. A world tick for Andy.

Up and out early on our final morning to seek out more Bustards. We got them. A gaggle of males, females all hidden away egg sitting.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

There’s a Cattle Egret in there somewhere!

2017 04 Extremadura Andy's photos

Great Bustard in the scope

Then we took a slow route back to Madrid crossing a great plain between Belen and Deleitosa where we came across a Vulture fest in full swing!

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Five Griffons crossing the road

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Griffon Vulture

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Black Vulture

Then on through Valdecanas de Tajo, Bee Eaters and Theckler Larks at close range.

Extremadura, Spain 2017 04


Extremadura, Spain 2017 04

Thekla lark

A mad dash to the airport followed. No time to pick up petrol. Walked straight through on onto the plane, last on. Great trip!

Trip list

(All logged en route on BirdTrack – never leave home without this fabulous app!)

Red-crested Pochard

Grey Heron
Purple Heron
Great White Egret
Little Egret
Cattle Egret
Glossy Ibis
White Stork
Black Stork
Little Bittern
Night Heron

Great Crested Grebe
Little Grebe

Great Bustard
Little Bustard

Red-legged Partridge

Purple Swamphen

Birds of Prey:
Griffon Vulture
Black Vulture
Egyptian Vulture

Black Kite
Red Kite
Black-shouldered Kite

Spanish Imperial Eagle
Golden Eagle
Booted Eagle
Short-toed Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Montagu’s Harrier
Lesser Kestrel

Black-winged Stilt
Little Ringed Plover
Common Sandpiper (dog place)
Stone Curlew (opposite side of road to track to first bustards, under trees)

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse
Black-bellied Sandgrouse

Common Tern
Gull-billed Tern
Black-headed Gull

Wood Pigeon
Collared Dove
Turtle Dove

Little owl
Red-necked Nightjar

Pallid Swift

Near passerine (perching birds)
Great Spotted Cuckoo

House Martin
Crag Martin
Red-rumped Swallow
Sand Martin

Calandra Lark
Thekla Lark
Short-toed Lark
Crested Lark

White Wagtail
Tawny Pipit

Azure-winged Magpie

Golden Oriole

Sardinian Warbler
Subalpine Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Reed Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Cetti’s Warbler

Blue Rock Thrush
Black Redstart
Song Thrush
Spotless Starling

Corn Bunting
Cirl Bunting



Rock Sparrow
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow

Green Woodpecker

Cushion the blow

Something is needed in the aftermath of the election to ease the pain. So here is an offering from me.

After completing the fox and panda quilt I had a bit of a creative spurt. I was keen to learn how to make curvy seams and also to try my hand at free motion quilting. I was inspired by all manner of things I had seen on Pinterest and also by Leah Day who runs a fantastic series of ‘how to’ videos on YouTube. Each piece is 40cm x 40cm so easily manageable and ideal for a cushion covers.

Here is some of what I churned out:

1) Green Grey Blue

PiecingIMG_1067 (1)

Curvy seams – harder than it appears at first.IMG_1069

Free motion quiltingDSCF7719

2) Ebola Why Ebola? Because whilst I was making this block, I was listening to a remarkable audio diary of a young male medic setting up a new treatment centre in Sierra Leone.

A former research colleague of mine said this block reminded her of C. elegans, famed for its role in uncovering the mysteries of animal development, and the first animal to have its genome sequenced in full. No doubt I will return to this as inspiration down the line!DSCF7716

3) Chocolate Frigates Another odd title but there is a recurring theme here. This time I was listening to a radio 4 drama about a navel chef preparing a grand meal for the top brass while coming to terms with the departure of his son to the front line in Iraq.DSCF7721

4) Pie Chart Actually this one was not accompanied by a radio show. This block has its roots in the chart now supplied by HMRC with personal tax forms. I never thought that tax would provide a source of inspiration! Clearly I evened out the spending but this was just for artist effect. IMG_1059DSCF7712

5) Half square triangles with gold and blue top stitching This one was made as a gift for my sister. The pale yellow fabric came from a dress that she wore when she was 12. The light blue silk belonged to our grandmother. The darker blue cotton was part of the lining of an old curtain of mine. DSCF8239

Sew on and sew forth

In December 2014 I got a quilt commission from my good friend J. As  the proposal unfolded it became clear that what was being sought was something far far more complicated than I had undertaken before. The specification was for a double quilt including a fox, a panda, to go in a room with a cappuccino coloured wall.

Skilling up

Rather than let the commission go, I decided to skill up and learn how to patchwork.DSCF7360 DSCF7361 DSCF7373 DSCF7376 DSCF8011 My mother had been an obsessive and hugely creative hand quilter. Much of her collection of fabric had been given away when dementia took her mind, but on clearing the house after my father’s death, a couple of large bags containing fabric scraps and samples came to the surface. What a fantastic discovery that was.

The patchwork quilt above is destined for Criquette, who has cared for my family at moments of real trauma. Embedded in her quilt are fabrics that once clothed each member of my immediate family.

Unlike my previous quilts, this one includes a binding, complete with mitred corners, another advancement to my technical arsenal.

Having learned the basics of patchwork I set about the Fox and Panda quilt for J, or more specifically, her daughter who lives in San Francisco. She sent me a link to Schenley’s paper pieced fox pattern which I bought on Etsy. I thought it would come with some instructions but there were none. So I spent hours learning about paper piecing on YouTube and then made the fox out of scraps. It turned out ok.


A thirteen pieced nozzle

The panda was harder to deal with. I searched high and low for a pattern and eventually settled on a rather complicated design by Juliet from Tartankiwi.  There are 13 individual pieces of stitched fabric in the nose alone!


Having cracked the fox and panda, I began to think about the overall design and colours. Slowly the quilt began to take shape.



DSCF7978Last month both quilts were dispatched across the world and I waited with baited breath to hear from the recipients and this is what they said:

‘What joy it was to unwrap something so gorgeous. We were stunned with the quilts sumptuous colours. It will be an heirloom for our family to treasure’.

‘A huge thank you for this amazing quilt! It looks absolutely beautiful and really fits into our home perfectly. The amount of detail and care that clearly went into it are amazing, thank you again. I know it was a huge undertaking so we’re super appreciative’.


The bright red fabric, the calico and wadding were bought online from Empress Mills who offer excellent priced solid cottons.

Backing fabric for both quilts was bought from Sew Creative in Cambridge. They are expensive, but their collection is good.

The floral prints, greens and browns used in the panda quilt were bought from MT Fabrics, one of several fabulous Indian fabric shops on Goldhawke Road in west London.

More Quilt

Last October I needed to make a special present. I had a lovely piece of block printed Indian fabric that had been lurking in back of the the cupboard for years. I got it out and decided to turn it into a quilt. I dropped into a tailors/dressmakers on Chesterton Road but realised that to have it made up professionally would cost a fortune. So I set about doing it myself. DSCF7067 I used a very basic technique to make the quilt. I made several more in quick succession. One for Derek, and the one below for Imo.DSCF7077

I then made a cosy quilt from a special table cloth that belonged to my grandmother. Many a family meal had been enjoyed on this cloth and so it represented some precious memories. As it happens, I wanted my father’s body to be to be wrapped in it when he wet to his grave but in the event this could not be arranged. If I could not wrap the dead, I would wrap the  living.  DSCF7069 DSCF7075 I backed it with Calico from Empress Mills where I also bought a job lot of batting – 7m by 3.15 to be exact. They were good value, good quality and prompt. I got slightly more adventurous with the stitching as you can see.

Quilty Secret

I have been working from home for almost a year now and trying very hard to balance time spent at the computer with other creative things. My most recent exploit in this regard, has become a bit of an obsession. The video below tells the story. It lasts just over a minute.

Quilty orders

The material cost of the single (150 x 230cm) Indian block printed blue quilt featured in the video (front, back, wadding and thread) came to £80. It took me 9 hours to make.


If you would like to own or to gift a lovely quilt to a friend or family member, then please make me an offer that covers the material costs and something for my time.

If I recieve more than 4 orders I will buy backing, wadding and thread in bulk which will cut the costs. I have not yet found another supplier of such fine block printed cloths,  but I am thinking of branching out into other beautiful fabrics and even printing some myself. The obsession grows!

Email or drop by to discuss your quilty order!



The single blue Indian block printed quilt laid out on a double bed:


A year on…almost

A couple of weekends ago, before my eldest and my sister’s older two dispersed for university, our families gathered, and together with Colin and our mother Zerin, went to visit Bastien’s grave at the South Downs Natural Burial Site. Part of our mission was to put up the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired bird box that Colin had made in Bastien’s workshop.

Last time

This visit was in stark contrast to our previous one. Last time was a cold, wet November day when around sixty of us travelled down the A3 to see the wicker basket that carried my father gently lowered into the chalk. Friends and family spoke warmly, Bastien’s youngest grandson played the fiddle, his oldest sang. Peter Lloyd Jones has kindly made his heart felt eulogy available and you can read it here.

Tears flowed and mixed in with the rain. We cheered up afterwards in a pub. The journey back was bad for most and appalling for others. There was a pile up on the A3; some of our party did not get back to London until well after midnight. IMG_0955DSC_1699_2IMG_5584_2

This time

This time was a gloriously warm and sunny day in September. Our visit started with a fabulous lunch in the South Downs Sustainability Centre’s cafe. The young chef did us proud and whipped up a selection of lovely dishes – caramelised onion tarts, stilton and chutney sandwiches and delicious vegetable quiche – washed down with local ale and followed by coffee and home made cakes. Of course there were were feelings of sadness and loss, but the overwhelming, clawing, anxiety that had gripped me before did not surface. DSCF5446 IMG_9886

Finding the spot

The Sustainability Centre offered us the use of their mind-of-its-own electric wheel chair providing Zerin with the means to get down the valley and the rest of us with no end of laughs. The battery, needless to say, did not last the course. The machine had to cross the best part of a couple of kilometres over quite rough terrain. On arrival at the end of the path, our youngest was dispatched up a tree to survey the land and identify the position of Bastien’s plot. DSCF5504We found him and set about clearing the weeds and decorating his grave. Bastien acquired a new spine, a good, strong one fashioned out of flints. No more crumbling bones for this man!DSCF5494As the day turned to evening, we pushed Zerin back up the hill, clambered into the cars and  headed home.

Final resting place

I feel a great sense of ownership of the forest where Bastien lies. Zerin will join him in time, right on top of him as it happens. Dementia prevents her from understanding quite what this means, but I think she would be happy with the knowledge if only it would stick. Perhaps I will book a place for myself. It does not matter that it is so far from home. What matters is that the family will have a lovely place to gather and to play. Hey kids, come dance on my grave!


For Bastien by Peter Lloyd Jones

8th November 2013, South Downs.

When you are middle aged (say 40) your mentors are usually about 60. And they tell you, ‘the worst thing about growing old is you begin to lose your friends.’ ‘Yeh, yeh, yeh’, you say and get on with your life. And then you wake up as it seems the next day, and you yourself are 60. You see your first friends begin to die and you realise that what you’d been told all those years before was true. And then in another flash you yourself are eighty… and only one or two are left. Bastien was one of those.

A friend since the Sixties Bastien was for me one of the very last surviving compagnons de la route’ Not quite ‘one of the men who were boys when I was a boy’ but jolly near it. And this is my slender qualification for speaking these words. Because of course for Zerin and the children, Bastien was not ‘one of the last’ but something far more profound: ‘the only’ – the only lover, husband, father. So I speak for them with humility.

I shall remember first his unflinching courage in adversity. Not just in the way he bore personal tragedy but also in the way he faced an illness that had dragged him down for years. How lovingly he cared for Zerin when he himself was weakening by the day!

He faced his adversity with unflagging curiosity too, especially curiosity about his medical condition. ‘I’d love to have been there in the operating theatre looking down. Fantastic!’ This about his (to me terrifying) spinal surgery.

We will all remember his generosity. He was lucky to have more than most but he was unstinting to those with less. However there are gifts more precious than anything that can be weighed in money. Even when he must have known his own time was short, he spent many days in painstaking work on the proofs of another man’s books, a task he did better than any paid professional.

But on top of it all, I remember his sparkling, probing intelligence. Loose thinking didn’t last long in his company! But he was also a rigorous empiricist, an experimenter ‘putting nature to the question’; satisfied only with what he could demonstrate as fact.


As it happens I had another friend in many ways similar to Bastien.

Both were Jewish yet both were strictly secular. Each was a scientist. In fact they worked in adjacent fields of biology and knew of each other’s work. Both were unswerving materialists yet each was passionate about the arts, especially music. Both were tremendous talkers.

Now that other scientist happened to be married to a poet. And poetry like no other art captures the depth and complexity of our emotions – especially our bewilderment at loss.

When that other scientist died his widow found the courage to create poetry that stared her situation in the face. Though addressed to the shade of a different husband and father, her verses speak to all who mourn. So I’d like to read one of her poems here as we, in our turn, face life without friend or loved one.

‘Immortality’ by Elaine Feinstein †

If I believed in an old-fashioned Paradise,

then you my love would still be talking in it.

There would be blue sky and a few clouds

seen through stone arches, as in

Raphael’s School of Athens, with Diogenes

sprawled on the steps, and Plato in the likeness of da Vinci.

You could pursue them with your eager questions –

as once you challenged speakers at LSE

It’s not that I hope to find you there

myself, more that I cannot bear

it should be true, as once you said

We think. And understand a bit.

And then we’re dead.

But bear it we must. As Bastien did.


Bastien thought hard and understood much, above all in the scientific work that made his name, though of course he too knew how small it was when faced with what we’ve yet to understand.

In fact his favourite teaching was his First Year course on ‘The origins of life’, that deeply obscure primal chemistry that billions of years later was to bring us to his graveside. And now for him a different chemistry will carry on that endless process of becoming and in doing so provide the vital substrate for new life.

When he requested this style of funeral I’m sure he derived some wry satisfaction from the notion although I’m also sure he’d want to correct my words. I can almost hear his voice.

“What do mean ‘different’ chemistry? What’s so different about it? We’re only oxidation and reduction after all”!

Religions have had several thousand years to perfect the rhetoric with which they hope to salve our grief – those promises of immortality they know they’ll never have to keep. As one unbeliever speaking to another it would be quite improper for me to imitate those biblical cadences, haunting though they are. Instead on behalf of us all I shall express our sentiments in the plainest English possible:

“Goodbye dear friend. Goodbye!”


But let me end with a happy memory, one that will be familiar to you all. I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you ring the bell at number 31 Bastien opens the door and greets you, not with the conventional ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’ but with an enthusiastic, embracing “Yes!” And then he turns and calls over his shoulder to Zerin,

“It’s Jenny and Peter”, (or whoever it might be).

I like to think of this greeting as expressive of his attitude to life, right to its uncomfortable, even distressing end – a joyful affirmative, a great big “Yes!”

And so, even though his animating presence is no longer here to help us, we can honour his memory by keeping our network of love and friendship – love and friendship that began with him – in good repair. This will be our affirmation, our way of saying, ‘Yes!’

† ‘Immortality’ is included here by permission of the author and the publisher.

See www.

Peter LLoyd Jones 04/11/13