Tag Archives: Paris Review Daily’s Windows on the World

Through The Square Window

The Paris Daily Review is running a series called “Windows On The World”, in which writers from around the world write about what they see from their windows. They haven’t asked me yet, but I’ve got mine ready for when they do …


I can see a large tree from the window. This is fate’s idea of a joke. When you are in hospital with a broken leg, caused by falling out of a tree, then trees are not what you want to spend your days looking at.

I think it’s an oak tree, though I’m not an expert on dendrology, to me all trees are the same, they have leaves, branches and a contract with gravity that they will help prove its existence now and then.

As I say, it could be oak. Or beech. Or horse-chestnut – why “horse-chestnut”, anyway? Are there other sorts – cow-chestnuts, or zebra, or bison?

Sorry, I went off on a bit of a tangent there. Your mind tends to wander if you’re stuck in a room with no TV, a bed-pan that really should have been collected about 15 minutes ago and a view of the thing that caused all your problems.

It’s like putting in Dorian Grey in a room with the picture of Dorian Grey.

And why, I hear you ask (unless that’s just voices in my head, I’ve been in here for a month now) did I fall out of the tree? After all, I’m a grown-up, 38 years old, and my relationship with trees should be confined to picking apples off them, sweeping up leaves that have fallen from them and washing bird-poo off my car if I park under one of them.

Well, I was showing off. My son was sitting, as he had been all summer, in front of his Playstation, and I was going on about how he should get fresh air, about how much fun we had had as children, always outdoors. I explained Cowboys and Indians and he accused be of celebrating genocide. I outlined the game of conkers, and he asked “would you not just keep getting hit on the knuckles?” and I had to admit that you did. I explained the game of marbles, and he looked at me as if I’d lost mine.

I told him about Pooh-sticks. The withering contempt an eight-year old can get into a stare is quite astonishing.

And I said we used to climb trees. He said that sounded boring so I dragged him outside and made him watch while I climbed the oak, or beech, or for-all-I-know-banana-tree that grows unbidden in our back-garden, just to show him, and I’m sorry I used this phrase now, that “climbing trees is great crack”.

So here I am. For at least another month.

My son has offered to lend me his Playstation.