I’ve an icon on the wall of my study. Perhaps it contains a blessing. I bought it 45 years ago, when Mrs Llew and I moved, full of hope and maybe a sense of achievement, into a rambling, Edwardian house in North London. It came from an art shop in what was part of the ancient village, then encircled by a hundred years of suburb. The icon has no attribution. It is on wood, a picture of the Virgin and Child.

Our children were very young when I bought that icon. It watched over their piano practice, in a high ceilinged room,  and where the tall sash windows rattled in the wind – and at one stage honeysuckle crept through the gaps.

Tonight it’s looking at me. It gives me warmth and hope.

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