Wish

I think I’m a little superstitious, perhaps more than a little. I remember being told by my Nana that I should never walk under a ladder as it was unlucky – and I still avoid doing so. If I spilt salt it had to be thrown over my left shoulder, into the eye of the devil. When out walking in the English countryside, we would often pass through ‘wishing gates’ – small gates for people on foot, where the gate swings in an arc inside an arc of fencing. I still wish each time I pass through one of these, although it’s normally a frivolous ‘wish’ relating to my current circumstances rather than a wish for world peace.

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We used to greedily search through the carcass of the roasted chicken dinner, not for more meat, but for the wishing bone. Then when it was dry, a day or so later, two of us would link our pinky fingers around the two ends of the fragile bone and pull till it snapped. The person with the larger piece of bone would make a wish.

And then of course there was the birthday wishes upon blowing out the candles on the birthday cake.

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Scales

I’m not sure what era this was from, but the telephone number only has three digits so it must have been in the early days of phones. I imagine the delivery ‘boy’ cycling around the small market town in North Yorkshire with a basket full of fruit and vegetables, perhaps measured on the scales in W Scales fruiterer shop.

I remember having a similar fixed-wheel bike in the mid eighties when I lived in Zanzibar. I cycled for many miles on that bike both around town and out in the shamba (countryside), where the roads were so bad it was often quicker to go to places on your bike rather than motorised transport.

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In Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, North Yorkshire.

 

http://www.beckislemuseum.org.uk/

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In Bali

In Bali recently, we went for a walk through the rice fields outside of Ubud. I first visited Ubud about twenty five years ago. In those days it was a quiet sleepy village surrounded by rice paddies and most of the tourists were day trippers from the beach resorts. Over the years is has grown and changed. I think the largest growth spurt was after the release of the book, ‘Eat Pray Love’; people went to ‘find’ themselves.

It’s still a special place, although for me some of the magic has gone. The walks closer to the burgeoning town are no longer through peaceful rice fields on narrow paths that crisscross and meander through vibrant seas of green, passing no one but the occasional farm worker. Instead the concrete paths, where you dodge the ever present mopeds, lead to dotted cafes, guest houses, massage cabanas and random upmarket hotels jutting out from the green landscape … and some strange chaotic piles of rubbish!

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