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Nan Fairbrother

  • ... there are so many disciplines in being a parent besides the obvious ones like getting up in the night and putting up with the noise in the day. And almost the hardest of all is learning to be a well of affection and not a fountain, to show them we love them, not when we feel like it, but when they do.

  • ... happiness makes us older, less romantic, less in need of dreams. Discontent, not happiness, is the food of youth and poetry.

  • Understanding, above all, is a gift we should never offer uninvited.

  • ... perhaps the way with any obsession is to ignore it simply. Not to fight it, since it draws strength from any contact with us, whether hostile or friendly ...

  • There is a stage with people we love when we are no longer separate from them, but so close in sympathy that we live through them as directly as through ourselves. ... we push back our hair because theirs is in their eyes.

  • We envy people we love for being always in their own loved company ...

  • We love those we are happy with. We do. For how else can we know we love them, or how else define loving?

    • Nan Fairbrother
  • The sorrows of children are profound and unsuspected ...

  • If you would be happy all your life, plant a garden.

  • ... a garden is one of the very few expressions of man's nature that is altogether benign ...

  • ... children once settled and confident can mostly be left, it seems, to manage their difficulties without us. Only what we must do, always and unalterably, is hold their hand firmly in general goodwill, then they themselves seem to deal with their own particular troubles far better than we can.

  • ... children are not undeveloped versions of adult people: they are a different race of beings: they are children.

  • The sorrows we imagine are more profound and inconsolable than real life leaves us time for.

  • ... when people go away, or when we leave the places we love, or something we treasure goes out of our life — I have always noticed that before it happens — this leaving, this parting — when we think about it beforehand we are overwhelmed with sadness at the loss to come. ... the most unbearable sense of loss, the worst homesickness of all, so I have found, is this loss and sickness we feel beforehand, before we ever leave home.

  • ... the urgent crowds out the essential.

  • One of the many possible divisions of human beings is into those who make and those who use.

  • Enthusiasm is a plant which grows variously in the varying soils of different natures.

  • Every search has its own momentum. It is why a search makes such an excellent plot for a film or story.

  • ... the large black slugs ... come out at dusk. Enormous slugs. As big as crocodiles. So huge we need a gun to shoot them. And by the end of the summer, if they go on growing, we shall have to go out in pairs together for protection.

  • ... leisure is an attitude of mind, not simply remission of work.

Nan Fairbrother, English writer, landscape architect

(1913 - 1971)