I pimped my locker at work with an embroidered name tag. It’s not very “digital” in style but it definitely embodies craftsmanship.


There are some things that the eye can appreciate but a photo cannot do justice to.

My eye can see the whole and the part at the same time. I can see the carpet of cherry leaves and, at the same time, the brightest, reddest leaves in that carpet.

The camera cannot do that. I can take a photo of an individual leaf, but it looks kind of puny because the carpet is missing. Or I can take a photo of the carpet, but it looks kind of bland because of all the grass and the dry brown leaves that the eye sort of just skips.


Adrian saw me holding my camera and wanted me to take a photo of his thumb.

His thumb is the mist in the middle of the photo.

When he wants to show me some small thing, he does the same – puts it in my face, so close that I cannot even focus on it.

Replay is another riff on the theme of reliving your life with all your memories from the previous life still intact. It’s a close cousin of Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (henceforth FFLoHA) and a more distant relation of Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life.

Jeff, replaying his life, comes to the same conclusion and takes a different path the next time around. On the third replay, he’s not quite as enthusiastic about the whole thing any more. Still he keeps trying new ways of finding a meaning for his life.

I liked this book and yet I was a bit disappointed with it. Jeff generally only changes tack when he starts over (or when he meets another replayer), as if he was incapable of evaluating his life until he dies and starts again. After so many years of living, I would expect a man to know and understand himself better than that.

Jeff is also rather lacking in fantasy. A life of riches, and one of sex and drugs, and one of “back to basics” pastoralism – surely he should be able come up with more ideas than that, especially with potentially nearly unlimited resources! He could travel, learn things,

I was also expecting more depth of feeling. The book is written in a very matter-of-fact, almost bland tone, when Jeff is anything but dispassionate about what’s going on. The book never quite manages to convey any real emotion. The first, least interesting replay, feels like it takes forever. But Jeff’s supposed despair and rage against whoever or whatever is causing him to be reborn yet again merits three lines of attention.

The ending is a bit too pat, and the moral of the story too obviously served on a plate. We are so obviously supposed to wonder, what would I do differently if I got the chance to live again? And then told to live our life the best we can, not to waste it, because it’s the only one we have. Well, thanks for telling me.

Replay and FFLoHA have a lot in common, including the inevitability of ending up in the government’s hands, drugged and imprisoned, if one has the unfortunate idea of letting the public know that one knows the “future”. Replay is the “original”, published almost thirty years before FFLoHA, but I read FFLoHA before Replay so in my mind it’s the other way round, and that’s the direction I inevitably compare them.

Replay is less grand and more personal in scope. FFLoHA has an entire network of immortals, and a plot that involves a possibly-impending end of the world. Replay simply focuses on the effect that repeatedly reliving your life would have on you. It’s easy to get filthy rich when you know exactly which horse will win which race, and what stocks to pick, but it doesn’t make for a satisfying life. It’s hard to invest a life in family and caring for others, when in the end it’s all taken away from you.

In a way, FFLoHA is Replay replayed. It does some things better and some things worse. Can someone write a third replay, please?



I’d signed up for an early morning nature photo workshop. Unfortunately I have a bad cold so my energy levels were low and my inspiration likewise, so I didn’t come home with anything photographically exciting. But it was a nice way to spend a morning.

I’ve been to these photo mornings a few times before, and by now I more or less know what the teacher will say. I’m not paying for the teaching – I’m paying for someone to scout out a nice location, figure out the timing, give me a nudge to go there before the sun is up, and then serve me breakfast.


My aronias go ombre when they change colour: from light orange at the bottom, through dark orange, red, and finally near-black.


Maples have the prettiest leaves.


When it comes to indoor plants, I’m an indifferent and ignorant gardener. Out in the garden, I know all the species and varieties that I have, and that I don’t have but could have. Indoors, there’s various green things, and I only know the names of some of them. I re-pot them way less often than they deserve, and I’m only diligent about watering the most sensitive ones. The rest all get watered on the same schedule, when Eric thinks its time – no individual attention there.

Therefore it’s a pleasant surprise when some of the plants look like they really thrive.


The soles on my favourite comfy shoes are nearly worn through and they will soon be consigned to the trash can. Time to buy new ones. For the umpteenth time I wish fashion did not exist and I could just buy another pair of the exact same shoes that I have. Or that sneakers were more repairable.

As seldom as I go shoe shopping, I keep forgetting that my feet have gotten larger. I still think of my feet as size 38, even though the last few pairs of shoes I’ve bought have all been larger, and then I’m surprised when the shoes I ordered are too small.