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Katherine Gregor's Blog

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Jan.15.2013
Really is a word we  really use really a lot.  Really.  In fact, every few sentences, really.  I am not really sure why.   Now, really! There is no need to get uppity about this.  It's really just a case of trying to understand the reason for the popularity of this...
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Jan.13.2013
I have a favourite artefact at the British Museum.  One I never fail to go and admire, whenever I happen to be visiting this treasure trove of international archeology. Hebrew Astrolabe (front view) Copyright Trustees of the British Museum It was a couple of years ago.  I was lucky...
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Jan.09.2013
I know this one is going to spark off controversy, so here comes the disclaimer: this is just my personal opinion, which I have formed from my own observations.  However, I would be most interested in hearing about your experiences.   Many years ago, my friend Sue, who is one of the most...
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Jan.06.2013
Traditionally, it is La Befana – and not Father Christmas – who brings gifts to the children of Central Italy.  It is on the morning of the Epiphany, that children would wake up to find packages under their beds.  If they had been good children for the preceding twelve months, of...
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Jan.02.2013
On the Tube, the conductor's announcement is so loud, the sound is fuzzy and incomprehensible.  I plug my fingers into my ears and meet the eyes of other passengers.  They are impassive; their curiosity at my reaction, unemotional.  In the street, the shriek of the ambulance...
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Dec.30.2012
In Rome, at this time of year, among the blocks of torrone and wedges of panforte piled up on the market stalls, you can also buy a scacciaguai.  It is a miniature broomstick.  People hang it just inside their front doors, to keep their homes clear of trouble for the coming year.  ...
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Dec.23.2012
    Instead of the usual blog, a short story, for a change.  A gift.  The season demands it.  I hope you enjoy it.     Christmas Eve*     She scratched the paint off the woodwork with her fingernails.  There was a hollow, there, on the side of the...
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Dec.16.2012
Unable to sleep, I wept into my pillow, each note of the blackbird’s song breaking my heart.  A doomed blackbird, his life drained away by the exhaustion of singing all night, and by the damp and icy December temperature.  That is what a friend of mine, a keen birdwatcher, had told me....
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Dec.13.2012
(*See legal disclaimer below) Even in our era – sadly so full of fears and threats – there are few places as scary as the ladies’ room at a ball, or other dressing up social event.  In fact, the more elegant the clothes, the higher the atmosphere of menace in the powder room.  To all the...
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Dec.09.2012
  Seedless oranges, seedless clementines, seedless grapes.  The words are displayed in large letters on the glossy supermarket shelf labels, or squares of brown cardboard on the stalls of street vendors.  Seedless.  As an incentive for buying.  I shrink in horror at this...
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Dec.05.2012
No, I am not one of those people who get grumpy, depressed or reclusive at this time of year.  I love, and always have loved, Yuletide.  No, I do not like to see tinsel and baubles adorning the shops in October.  From 1st December, however, I light my Advent Candle bought from St...
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Dec.02.2012
“Just be yourself.”  How many times have you heard that? It is the advice given by friends, psychologists, life coaches and even career advisors.  “Being yourself” is widely recognised as the best policy. But what if that were not always the case? Of course, from other people’s point of...
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Nov.28.2012
Of course, not all the English are like this. "Is this all right, my dear, or is it too much?" The hostess looks in earnest. You stare at the minuscule mound before you, and resist the temptation of lifting your plate to check if there is more food hiding underneath.  You refrain from asking...
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Nov.25.2012
As I understand it, it is a medical fact that an allergy is often an intolerance to a substance with which your body is already saturated.  A kind of overflow.  In other words, an allergy is your body’s way of screaming it has had enough. I have developed an allergy to the word “busy”....
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Nov.21.2012
  Why do people – strangers – feel they have to kiss you on the cheek, as a greeting? The British, for one, seem to have suddenly decided they will be all Continental about it.  Except that their enthusiasm is now exceeding the number of kisses given by the average Continental...
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