Oliver Francis

Thoughts from the spaces in between


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Watching the fire on the horizon

fireIt’s always a jolt coming home from a holiday. The wheels thud on the tarmac – a moment of relief that the plane has been designed, engineered and flown by experts – and then all those mundanities flood back: piles of washing to be done, the overflowing inbox, catching up on what’s been happening in the news whilst you’ve been away.

Hmm, the news. I was in the UK for little more than 24 hours of Brexit fallout before leaving for a week in Italy with my better half, and I’ve been doing my best to keep up. Even though this mess is going to be with us for years, everything seemed to be happening at lightning speed. In the Naples passport queue on Saturday afternoon there were some jokes – and some genuine uncertainty – from the Brits about whether we could still use the EU Citizens’ line, as if the referendum had been some sort of magic spell to cast the demon EU instantly out of us. Continue reading


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Reindeer Games (for Litro Magazine)

IMG_7927csmallThis piece originally appeared in Litro Magazine
www.litro.co.uk/2014/05/reindeer-games

The herd of reindeer appeared over the rise of the hill. A great mass of animals painted a patchwork of brown and white on the green and grey of the high scrub. A low chorus of grunts and lowing carried over the ground, accompanied by a rumbling percussion of hooves. Coming up behind them were a line of quad bikes and a pair of collie dogs. The herd packed closer together, and became a single shifting mass flowing across the ground. One of the quad bikes broke off and turned towards us, bouncing its way over the tussocks. We started to back off, not wanting to disturb this monumental round-up. But as one bike got a little closer, its rider started beckoning us towards him. We were about to become reindeer herders. Continue reading