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Such a ticklish word. Sounds like it wears a smile – if words wear anything? In any case, perfectly describes the last couple of weeks since coming back from that big hike the length of Wales. Just one of those periods. Stuff to sort out. Bits and pieces. This and that. Disruption in the kitchen. A smallish alteration turned, inevitably, into something more major. Contents of cupboards disgorged. Dust everywhere. Drilling. Cups of tea. No running water unless from the outside tap. Chaos. All at sixes and sevens – as my mother would have said. I never thought about that phrase before. Why...

Years ago, my grandmother came to London to visit me. I was a newcomer, recently installed in a job that felt important, in an office on the South Bank, in a city that felt exciting but very strange. I forget now how she travelled south – by plane or by train. She’d travelled across the Atlantic by boat four times in her life but had never been to London. She took a taxi to Shell Centre where I met her, eager to show her where I worked. By luck or coincidence, or even fate, the taxi driver was a Scot, from...

I took a notebook, as I always do, to record my journey on Offa’s Dyke Path. By the end of the third day it was saturated, pages pleated together, curled, sodden scraps detaching from the edges. I put it on top of a radiator in our bedroom at the B&B that night; the one virtue of the otherwise lamentable place was the possibility of radiated heat for a while in the evening. It was still damp by morning. The upshot of this was, of course, that my note-taking was limited. Now, reflecting on completing the journey, I’m relying on the pictures...

Yesterday and today. What days we had. At last we left the rolling hills and lush valleys behind and ventured onto the stony trails among the ridges, peaks and moors of northern Wales. This feels more familiar. This is terrain we love for its sense of wildness. Open heather-clad country and scattered farms. Sheep are the only livestock that thrive here. And skylarks. Those softly serene rolling hills that we traversed for days have been a joy. But they deceive. The lush grass makes for hard walking, especially when it's damp with rain and the humidity is high. Heavy ground drags the...