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On the way back from school.

M: I found out I got a Work Star today Mummy that I didn’t even know I had.

Me: Wow, that’s good. In what?

M: History.

Me: For what?

M (obviously waiting for this): Well, you know how Egyptians believed things about going to the Underworld, and how their hearts were weighed on these scales against a feather…and if it was heavier or lighter then they went different places?

Me (not sure where this is going): Sort of…

M: And Osiris accompanied them. Pauses. I’m not sure how he was supposed to go with everyone, one by one. Pauses again. Maybe there was a whole army of Osirises…but the story goes there was only one. Hmm…Maaay-bee (warming to it now) everybody waits and then piles into something like the Eurostar, and as they are all getting comfortable, over the loudspeaker comes this voice (she shifts to a game show announcer), ‘And your driver today is…Osiris!’ And of course it’s always Osiris! And it goes on like that, all these dead people waiting at the station….

We guffaw over this image for maybe half a mile.

Me (calmer, finally): Okay, but look, what did you actually get the Work Star for?

M: Oh yeah! I drew such a good picture of the real story, with all these diagrams….I think that must be what I got it for.

***

I don’t think I’ll ever again be able to hear poor Osiris mentioned without thinking of him as a train driver. It’s a shame in a way that her teachers didn’t hear this invention — but I don’t think she would have got a Work Star for it, alas. More’s the pity, I can’t help but think.

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What with Obama and Clinton raging in Iowa and New Hampshire, I’ve found myself longing to be ‘in the fray’. Not that I’ve ever managed — despite best intentions, admittedly — to be in any particular fray…but this one does grab me.

I also feel homesick. The lack of any interesting precipitation (where’s the snow for heaven’s sake?) along with Sarah Salway’s picture of a cardinal — the bright red state bird of Virginia (where I grew up) — over on her blog, together make me want to be there.

It’s abstracted. It’s irrational. But this morning I sang The Star Bangled Banner to M in the car. Yes I did. She listened all the way through before quietly remarking that she didn’t think she’d ever heard it before. Shame on me.

In recompense, please accept this particularly belting version. If you didn’t know it before M, you’ll know it now!

I’m impressed with myself, I have to say. Two pages (sort of) made. Links and all.

Looking-wise, on the way to school this morning M and I saw tall, magnificent trees still in full leaf, a shade past bright yellow. They were regal, in full finery, stood at the edge of a field as if observing the dancefloor. We had to tip our heads to see the tops of them, nearly crashing the car.

I HAVE MOVED

From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning

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Who am I?


A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.