The London Magazine – April/May 2023
Manet, Mandarins and Me
My husband doesn’t enjoy peeling oranges. He doesn’t like the little white webs of pith or the way the juice trickles between his fingers and soaks and stains the skin. He’s not a fan of pips. The citrus-sweet taste he could take or leave. If I had to choose between him and my favourite fruit, I like to think I’d stick with him.
The Uses of Beauty
When Clare wakes, the car is moving along a wide valley between fields of grazing cattle. She shifts in her seat, her side sweaty where her brother Robbie has been leaning against her. The last thing she remembers is crossing into Austria at a high pass, a young border guard peering in at them through the drizzle. Now the sun is out, and the tarmac is steaming in the heat. At a junction, her father slows down. ‘This is it,’ he says, turning the car. They pass through a village, all whitewashed houses with large overhanging roofs. In the deserted square is a small inn, Der Jäger painted across one wall in beautiful gothic script. Next to the lettering is a twenty-foot-high figure of a hunter in Tyrolean leather trousers and green hat, striding across a mountain side. Clare notices that he has the same jaw as John Travolta in Grease.