Letter to America

Letter to America

Even the most optimistic of us are concerned not just for our own country following this dreadful pandemic but especially for America, the once leader of the free world. That was not a misprint. Here in London, we worry about your President and his inability to understand that by isolating...

Read more
Rich & happy to pay tax

Rich & happy to pay tax

I’ve nothing against rich people in principle. I know several – some extremely rich. I like some of them; I dislike others. I admire some for the generosity and imagination with which they have made use of their wealth; I despise others for their mean-mindedness and obsession with possession, and...

Read more
Good Grief

Good Grief

So, cautiously, you emerge from a London lockdown, or maybe a Durham one, blinking at the sun, and the first question is: who’s in line for all the cash you’ve saved not going out for two months? A hairdresser for sure, a bartender would be good, maybe a physiotherapist after...

Read more
From the Riverbank

From the Riverbank

It was a glorious return to the riverbank, after weeks of banishment and then, uncertainty. England has never looked more verdant, with a thousand shades of green – sap, viridian, permanent, cobalt, olive, Windsor, helio, phthalo, olive, May, Perylene, Hooker’s, all the colours in my paintbox, and many, many more....

Read more
The Virus Vs The European Idea

The Virus Vs The European Idea

My grandfather fought in both World Wars in the last century. I have a postcard sitting in front of me which he sent from Belgium to Flo, his wife. It is dated 1920 and it shows a photo of his battalion. His note finishes with a suggestion that the war...

Read more
What next?

What next?

In this most unusual of times, last experienced in circumstances that won’t be remembered by anyone alive – not even the redoubtable Captain Tom – in 1919, there is, as there was then, a wide perception that ‘Things Will Never Be the Same Again’. If you are not already busy...

Read more
The Scent of Spring.

The Scent of Spring.

Young Greta Thunberg made a powerful plea on behalf of Planet Earth in 2019.  Her voice was heard by school children around the whole world.  Governments largely turned deaf ears in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence, bush fires, floods and droughts causing devastation to the lives of millions and billions...

Read more
Mind, Body, Spirit

Mind, Body, Spirit

I can’t remember if the editor of this fine organ has warned me off writing about anything that might come under the general Dewey classification 200 or ‘Mind Body Spirit’, as they call it in Waterstones. It’s the kind of thing hard-nosed, pinot noir glugging magazine supremas might do,...

Read more
Love in a Time of Coronavirus

Love in a Time of Coronavirus

One of the upsides of social distancing is that it seems to have cured my halitosis and body odour. No one’s mentioned either for weeks. And since I murdered my entire family after day two of the lockdown, nobody’s making veiled comments at home. Though their body odours are starting...

Read more
Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

  Good news! If you’re reading this, the world hasn’t ended. Yet. But it certainly feels like it might at any moment. Australia’s on fire, this country’s flooding, New Zealand’s erupting, The West Indies are quaking, locusts plague East Africa, land- slides in Myanmar, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge etc. batter...

Read more