Apr 292009

Sitting in my bedroom with the window open, enjoying the cool of the evening and the smells of spring, I half-heard what sounded almost like church bells ringing.

Instantly, my entire being tensed up like an aerobics instructor – heart pounding, eyes widening, chills ebbing and flowing along the spine – which is exactly how I used to feel all the time when I was living in Oxford where the bell-ringers, like maddened over-zealous robots, practise their craft day and night. For a moment, I was back in that hell-hole: miserable, poor, stressed, and foreign; bleak bleak bleak, despite all the dreaming spires and golden sandstone.

Then a child darted past the window and I realised it wasn’t church bells at all. It was an ice-cream van.

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