Saturday, 9 January 2010


Yesterday, there was nothing whiter (snow included) than these magnificent swans - which frequent the water-meadows just behind Winchester College.  

Sometimes they get territorial about their particular stretch of river.  They fly across the surface of the water chasing away intruders - their huge wings beating down - causing everyone to stop and watch them, transfixed.

I've loved swans ever since I was a at school - when a wonderful teacher read aloud the haunting tale of THE CHILDREN OF LIR
You won't find a sadder or more beautiful story anywhere.  It stayed with me for years - and it still echoes in my ears whenever I see a stately swan sliding across the water.  And it reminds me of just how important good teachers are.

Is there any powerful memory from school which lingers with you to this day?


  1. I've still got the scar across my forehead to remind me!

    T x

  2. I loved that tale too, Sharon. School memory: the lovely teacher who realised that, age 7, I was way past the reading scheme and bored to tears, and who brought me in books on archaeology and history. Same teacher introduced us to the poem 'The Highwayman', and that line about the moon as a ghostly galleon has always stayed with me - I think about it every time I see the moon on a cloudy night. (I have it on audio CD now and the kids enjoyed it, too. Even though it's a tragic tale.)

  3. As I had changed schools seven times by the age of nine I don't remember a favourite story at school, but I loved to read at home and The Little Match Girl is what I'd read over and over. It still made me want to cry when I read it to my now teenage daughter.

    The swans look fantastic, such majestic birds.

  4. The book that stuck with me at school was Anne Frank's diary. It really tuned me into the horrors of war. Oh and Rachaels "Little Match Girl" - gosh how sad was that book! Have a great weekend. Caroline x

  5. I love swans too - their promenade is so graceful and elegant. When I saw "Lebedinoe Ozero" (or else Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake") at theatre I loved swans even more.

    I don't remember a particular book I loved when I was at school, but when I attended high school my Italian teacher chose me and other three classmates of mine to play one of the most famous Neapolitan tragicomedy "Natale in casa Cupiello" (Christmas in Cupiello's house) written by Eduardo De Filippo, a well-known Neapolitan dramatist.

    It was then that my love for theatre grew up.
    The première was a success - the headmaster was enthusiastic, families and classmates adored us.
    We replicated the play the next year too, the third, the fourth and the last one before graduation, always before Christmas.

    I loved wearing clothes of the Naples of the 30's and being on a stage, where everyone knew that we were just teenagers to play a very difficult and moving drama, often played by adult and experienced actors.
    The most beautiful time of my adolescence.

  6. Kate - The Highwayman.....yum! (but I must re-read it).

    Rachael and Caroline - I love the Little Match Girl so much that I alluded to it in the manuscript I've just delivered (the heroine was grumbling that was how the hero was making her feel).

    As for Michela - now I shall have to go and find out about Eduardo De Filippo!

  7. Do you have any other favourite animals, Sharon?