Virginia Barton



In 1720, in a Letter of Advice to a Young Poet, Jonathan Swift wrote:

“. . .A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there. . .”

The “few and insignificant thoughts” are exactly what will be found here in Commonplaces.

1 March 2019: Au revoir, for now

You need a respite from my iPad, and I must make a tour d’horizon like some hopeful periscope swivelling and scanning the surroundings hopefully.

15 February 2019: Men in cars

The neurologist was really apologetic; he had no idea how close he was to being hugged. I managed to resist whooping and look crestfallen.

8 February 2019: Thank you’s

On Boxing Day we made a careful list of all our presents and who had given what and to whom we had to write and say thank you. Times have changed.

25 January 2019: Intruders, part 2

I have never in my life had 13 different kinds of tea and coffee in the flat. I had no idea they even existed, let alone might find a lodging with me.

4 January 2019: Mickey!

He can always pull you out of a black dog mood, comfort you in one of life’s not infrequent sad moments with his fixed but genuine smile.

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