Author: Lizzie Aitchison

They stuffed me full of dirty washing – always the same on the way home. All that neatly-packed, fragrant load I had to carry on the way out exchanged for dusty shoes filled with socks or knickers and soiled tee-shirts on top. At least they’re not sweaty people, my owners. I’ve heard from friends on carousels or luggage racks what some of them have to put up with. So, I count myself lucky in a way. The lady at the check-in seemed OK. She put the sticky tag around my handle quite gently. I waved at my owners; I always do,...

We knew they spent part of the year here. But we had no address, just a vague idea of direction - somewhere far from the main town. Here is a small green island, high up in the Aegean, smothered with trees, dotted with pebble beaches, fringed with yachts and other small craft anchored in sparkling bays, surrounded by other, mostly empty islands large and small like green gems set in lapis lazuli, and lapped by a soft sea. Alonissos. We had thought, again vaguely, that we might try and track down our lost friends. when some other friends invited us to spend...

Summer warmth, autumn winds. August days tinged with October.  I walk the towpath on the north side of the river. Twickenham to Richmond. Dipping down from the broad, bustling, characterless main road through the ancient churchyard. Dark sarcophagi. Mossy gravestones bent over from years. Soulful.   The river.  Early morning. Still. Quiet. The road winds behind The Stables where local government officials are tethered to flickering machines. Past the White Swan. Droplets of last night’s downpour glisten on umbrellas above empty tables. A lone glass holds dregs of beer diluted with rain. Last night’s laughter echoes softly in the canopy of trees. Passing under...

As the little book says, there’s a duck pond at the start (and end) of a circular walk on the edge of Braemar. It’s here, after completing the walk, that I sit on a bench to write. In case anyone should be in any doubt, there are several ducks here. Two of them are foraging for food in the depths, tail feathers pointing straight up in the air, back feet lightly paddling the surface of the water. I suppose this keeps them balanced in that ungainly vertical position that looks so comical.  Another pair are cleaning and preening, nuzzling their beaks...