46 Great Opening Lines: 21

On an exceptionally hot evening early in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. bridge. Opening line, Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by Constance Garnett Last night I could have written: On an exceptionally hot evening… Continue reading


Changing Seasons: December

Here we are at the end of the year, and here I am, writing the last of my twelve Changing Seasons posts in response to Cardinal Guzman’s photo challenge. Canberra, December. Last week, schools finished for the year, and children began six weeks of summer holidays. In anticipation of Christmas, they’re enjoying the city’s decorations… Continue reading


46 Great Opening Lines: 15

There were 700 or 800 of them at least. Of medium height, but strong, agile, supple, framed to make prodigious bounds, they gambolled in the last rays of the sun, now setting over the mountains which formed serried ridges westward of the roadstead. Opening lines of Gil Braltar by Jules Verne, 1889, translated by I.O.… Continue reading


46 Great Opening Lines: 12

I had never seen so many white coats in my little room. Opening line of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby, translated by Jeremy Leggatt When Jean-Dominique Bauby wakes from a coma after a stroke, he’s surrounded by medical staff. He can’t move much of his body, just his head and one… Continue reading


Changing Seasons: November

This weekend I went to a kind of food fair, a Taste of Braddon, a suburb that some are calling the hipster suburb of Canberra. A couple of streets that not long ago were the place to go if you wanted to buy or repair a car have now been transformed into the place to… Continue reading


46 Great Opening Lines: 11

1918. 8 March. There is so much influenza about that they’ve had to shut the university. Opening line, The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla, 1966, translated by Peter Bush   Catalonia is in the news and on my mind. I’m reading Josep Pla’s The Gray Notebook. And it’s in my face, for my desktop picture is… Continue reading


46 Great Opening Lines: 10

Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wood, where the right way was lost. Opening line of Canto 1, “Hell”, The Divine Comedy, Dante, completed 1320, translated by Charles Eliot Norton.   Dante has lost the “right way” and hopes to find it before he grows old. But he… Continue reading


Changing Seasons: October

In October around Canberra there are fetes and fiestas and spring celebrations. This one is called Party at the Shops. It’s on today. There are dancing schoolgirls, a big band and sausage sizzle, Thai food and a jumping castle. There’s also a home-made lemonade stand. Note that the signs don’t just offer lemonade. Let’s hope… Continue reading