Wide sky

N is registered with the local GP in the morning and has a checkup for a sore throat. An electrician comes to fix the oven.

You spend much of the day pottering about the house to the reassuring cadences and impeccably liberal values of Radio 4. But today you have lost your ideological moorings. Even impeccable liberalism appears shot through with unexamined assumptions, wishful thinking, self-serving justifications. One giveaway sign — the casual innumerate abuse of statistics, which as everyone should be taught at school will confess to anything if tortured hard enough.

Perhaps, to rephrase Churchill, liberalism is the least honest form of political philosophy except all those others that have been tried from time to time.

Walking with the family to the village in the late winter afternoon. At this latitude and so close to the solstice that means at around 4pm. You see now that this house sits on the edge of a raised plateau. The view west, away from the city, stretches for miles across an expanse of open farmland dotted with clumps of woodland.

The wide sky was blue shading into dusk. Towards the western horizon, two or three bars of horizontal cloud, purple-black on top, fiery orange underneath. Beneath and between them, the incandescent colours of sunset. Flights of birds in straggly V formations tracked across this light-show backdrop. A storybook crescent moon, bright as a halogen lamp, hanging neatly in place.  

Forty minutes later, walking back to the house, you are puzzled for a moment to see that the show — the long slow Northern sunset — is still in progress.


Red cheeks

runny noses, bright eyes: happy kids

in the ice-cold air

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