A lovely week in Engerland, even if they do talk funny down there. There's my godson the Miracle Baby, cats of acquaintance, funfairs and different, lighter-coloured slugs ands snails than my locals. I managed to fry my shoulders in just two hours of morning sun in a south-facing garden, and have suffered badly for it all week.
Poor D., mother of Miracle Baby, had undergone jaw implant surgery two days before I arrived to find her sporting chipmunk swollen cheeks, two black eyes and nasty black rows of stitches from her gumline right down her palate. She'd been expecting the equivalent of a few fillings but it turned out to be Driller Killer, as successively larger Black & Decker drills were employed on her to excavate space in the upper mandible for the pig collagen and cow bone inserted to hold later new teeth-alikes. All on the NHS (free within a year of maternity) as long as you don't mind dental surgeon students inflicting on you dulled but substantial pain. Nothing but ice cream and yoghurt for 5 days afterwards while your slashed mucosae heal. They couldn't believe how much D. tolerated (3.5 hours), but she is Scottish.This is a true storyThe taxi driver for the 10 min ride to the train in Colchester is playing in the cab inspirational spoken-word from a Brooklyn-accented man. As we set off-
Driver: Is the recording bothering you?
Me: No, but it doesn't have much effect. I don't believe in God.
Driver: That's a good start. Would you like to talk instead?
Me: OK. God is dead.
Driver: Maybe. All you need to do is meditate, no belief necessary. That speaker is one who hasn't had a direct teacher and is self-taught.
Me: I thought you needed a teacher with a traceable lineage back to the buddha?
Driver: Not necessarily. There are many ways, and it's different for different people.They draw up to the station
Me: It's hard to leave things behind, and I don't know how to think of nothing.
Driver: It takes practice.
Driver draws a slim black quarto from under the seat well; Gibran's The Prophet.
Driver: I'd like you to read this on the train.
Me: What's your name?
Driver: That's easy. My name is John Doe. Why not read the book on the train.