Dear Tooth Fairy, Or May I Call You Laran?

This was the letter that my seven year old daughter Millie left out for the Tooth Fairy. It suggests a certain familiarity, but it seems that they have met before. They are on first name terms, you know.


We have a student staying with us from Angola. I had to explain to him, in front of Millie, how difficult it is for the Tooth Fairy to remove a tooth from underneath a pillow, itself beneath a sleepy head, and substitute a few coins in its place. I had to emphasise the words ‘Tooth Fairy’ and do that thing with my eyes to ensure that he did not think that his English host was barking.

I think he got it.

Asked if they had similar customs back home, he replied that they left the tooth somewhere up high, above them, (that would be so much easier) and in the morning there would be a gift there instead.

Millie’s eyes grew wide. “You mean like a computer, or an iPad?”

That was before the recession kid, the Tooth Fairy now deals in shrapnel. At least in this house she does.

Midsummer. Evening.

Everything still looks the same, but a line has been crossed.

Any change, any shift, will for a while be imperceptible. But things, as always happens, will gradually gather momentum until all is transformed.

“Time and tide wait for no man,” my father used to say.

They didn’t wait for him. He never attempted to outrun, or withstand. Once you reach a certain age, there is an air of inevitability about things. But there is no great hurry. We can live riding the rhythms of seasons, of tides.

The sun begins to set, it does not appear any different to the way it set last night, or the night before. But a person knows. That is our curse. But it is also a blessing.

Today has been a good day, shared with family and friends, and the things that count.

In the morning the rising sun will place another bead upon the abacus of the mortal man.



Local photograph by Drou Petrides

Midsummer. Afternoon.

The wheel of the year continues to turn. We walk in a day carved out as the longest. Maybe with a sense of obligation, the sun shines down. My children gaze up at a horse chestnut tree, in the shade filled with an irrational, unseasonal hope.

They mark out the year only by conkers and snow.




Even the starlings were sunbathing.



Midsummer. Morning.

Not in some stone circle, nor upon a mountaintop, but in a back garden, to the rear of a block of houses. A sacred square of confederacy. In each house the occupants are sealed in their tombs of un-knowing. On the roof of many, a totem bird sings, a blackbird, a starling, or a sparrow. Harbingers of light, stealing a march on everybody, except the sold out hippy in a cosmos of community.

A waning, sharp-edged moon peeks through the lightening clouds. Crows fly east, the seeking Magi. More-robins, swifts, gulls, cry out for other. A bat flies one final sortie before passing on the baton. Trees stand still in stupor.

Out of place, out of sight, girls shriek out from a passing car. A raiding hen party, scrambling at dawn. Implausibly, the birds sing louder, in a claim of ownership, as the day arrives fully, drowning in coffee.



Snippet Of The Week

Early in the week, while dropping my daughter off at school, a mother of one of the other children asked me:

“Is the World Cup nearly finished now?”

She said it quite casually, but there was a hint of something more.

I answered “Finished? Some of the teams haven’t even played their first game yet!”

There was a slight pause, then, in equal parts resignation and desperation:

“How much longer will it go on for?”

I shrugged. “I’m not sure, maybe three weeks.”

Hope dying in the eyes, like the embers of a once blazing fire.