Archives for the ‘Diary’ Category

Calais Jungle—a visit

    The journey is delayed by a couple of hours due to ‘intruders’ in the tunnel. We can’t get in because they are in. On the approaches and exits on both sides of the channel, the wet roads and grass banks are lined with multi-layered steel mesh fences, pristine cream curtains reaching up to […]

A View of Monaco from the Jardin Exotique

A Christmas Tale of Tolerance & Goodwill

Those who know me mostly know me for my wit and charm, for my fine social skills and above all for my discretion. Those who know me better also know also that I have a brother with whom I never speak. I have literally had two short conversations with him since 1978. One of the […]

My Tony Benn story

News of Tony Benn’s serious illness prompts me to recall my one connection with him, a tangential, passing moment. Twitter is all a-flutter this morning, squabbling over whether he was a great man or not. Irrelevant to me. I think he was a good man, which is much more important. He had empathy in spades […]

Up the Creek Without a Paddle

I was awoken simultaneously by three unmissable phenomena. At this point of the year, the sun pierces the skylight and sends a laser into slumbering eyes at precisely the same moment as the lurcher, Mouse, nudges open the door with her nose and muzzles it, wet and cool, into an unsuspecting, outstretched, sleeping hand. This […]

Maggie Maggie Maggie, Out Out Out

I see her as a Berlusconi, a Savile, a Boris, developing an unassailable cult of personality as a smoke-screen for her own particular brand of self-obsessed shenanigans.


Mid-March, and the frogs come out of their wet lairs for the annual jamboree.

Sound of Mind and Body

She says she’s sound of mind and body, and I say “what does that sound like?” And my cat looks like she’s passing through when in fact she’s passing away. She gives me that look that says “look—don’t look at me that way. Let me sit at the edge of the shade. And let me […]

A true story from the neighbourhood

Last night I was lounging in a friend’s garden a few doors down with a whole bunch of good neighbours, good wine and good food. All the kids had taken themselves off and we were left to chat and laugh. I was sat next to my friend’s mother, an erudite and charming woman who was […]


I was in an agricultural area, and there was clearly no truck with squeam.