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Sheku’s playing at the royal wedding on Saturday was extraordinary. When the du Prés say “He’s the first cellist since Jackie who has that natural and vibrant abandonment when playing”, you know it’s time to sit up and listen.

And being out of the country for so long, I’ve only just caught up with the fact that there are seven Kanneh-Mason children, all musicians.

 

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… a single day of sunshine gets a slot on the national evening news.

…the kitchen cupboards are full of powdered this and powdered that:

  • Coffee powder
  • Gravy powder
  • Curry powder
  • Mashed potato powder
  • Soup powder
  • Egg powder
  • Mustard powder
  • Custard powder
I wasn’t aware of this national obsession until I lived elsewhere. The only one we have in Togo is milk powder.

Koh-i-noor

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Nagoya to Kyoto is the same distance as London to Bristol. The journey by bullet train takes 30 minutes and there’s a departure every ten minutes.

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This retreat has been partly prompted by reading a couple of books about the Life of Tenzin Palmo, the Englishwoman who became a Buddhist nun and spent twelve years as a hermit in a Himalayan cave. Game-changing books that, among many other things, helped me understand that Buddhist meditation techniques do not presuppose any particular belief system.

Tenzin Palmo

 

End of week ten, and the training phase is over. Altogether we’ve trained 68 volunteers in four different versions of the orthography.

The daily visit to the pool is paying off in more ways than one. Yesterday I dived in and found a 5000 cfa note (£6.50) on the bottom.

 

…in the course of one afternoon’s shopping, ten people say ‘sorry’ to you.

Still piecing this culture together bit by bit after 21 years. Today I learned that as long as I have no beard it would be considered presumptuous for any of my employees to grow one.