Online exams, offline zest.

I’ve been cooking with citrus and lemon a lot recently. A quick squeeze added green vegetables, oven-cooked fish, yoghurt dips: will it do add anything good? we don’t know, but let’s do it anyway, as it makes me feel like a freewheeling tv chef. The squeezing and sauté-ing and chopping has made up large, salted […]

Unproductive worrying about privilege. (‘Privilege disclaimer’)

Yes, I’ve opened and closed and reopened this draft most days – without managing to write anything. All the usual anxieties of blog-writing (will people think I’m a narcissist? illiterate? boring? will future employers condemn me on the basis of total foolishness?) have combined with the self-consciousness of pleasing others. A good deal of lockdown […]

It’s fine, fun is overrated anyway

Greetings from the Year Abroad I am now conducting from my bedroom: a year abroad insofar that it is no longer a Year, but a strange, shapeless vortex of timey wimey stuff, and abroad in the sense that it’s not abroad, but is in fact a suburb in North Yorkshire. What have I been doing, […]

Questions of travel, by Elizabeth Bishop

Since we’ve all been temporarily prevented from travelling further than ‘another government-mandated walk around the block? Well, it’s not as if I’ve got much else on…’ , I thought this would be quite a useful poem to think about. It plays with the excitement of travelling, at the same time as it questions its necessity, […]

We escape lockdown corona crisis in France

And so we enter the event I am calling ‘The Second Fucking Time I’ve Had To Flee A Country On The Year Abroad.’ (TSFTIHTFACOTYA for short?). It’s all happened pretty quickly. On Friday I sent an e-mail to the company I was supposed to work for in Beaune, in which I (oh, innocence) wondered whether […]

Corona-vacances : she may be small, but she’s shut down France

You’ve probably noticed by now how it’s all gone a bit Exodus, that the newspapers have become great harbingers of doom, and that the world’s generally on an off-day. Coronavirus (for it is she) has spread to France, which is now the 2nd most infected country in Europe, and the ENS has closed. Plus no […]


Flora Bowen University of Cambridge Education Oct 2017- June 2021 Currently working towards a BA (Hons) in Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge. January- May 2020 Erasmus exchange at the Ecole Normale Superieure Lyon, one of France’s prestigious ‘Grandes Écoles’. September 2010 – 2017 Bootham School, York A-Level  French, Spanish, History, English […]

The holidays, and halfway through.

(n.b. I wrote this while I was quite tired, so some of it might sound like I was smoking something fruity. I wasn’t.) For Part 1 at Cambridge, we studied the nouvelle vague classic, Agnès Varda’s Cléo de 5 à 7h. This film, which follows Cléo through her day, represents time as an elastic quantity, […]