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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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Comment: Ya boo sucks

Comment: Ya boo sucks

It sometimes seems, in these disturbing times, that the default mode of general conversation is disparagement. Up in the hills of South Shropshire where I spend much of my time (and where KCW distribution does not penetrate) I am responsible for regular restaurant reviews that appear in a small glossy magazine...

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Memeing of Life: Apocalypse now

Memeing of Life: 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 Europe, corona-pestilence spreads...

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Something Positive

Something Positive

‘Something positive,’ the editor told me. ‘Give them something to smile about.’ ‘Crikey,’ as Bertram Wooster probably never said. ‘That’s a challenge – a lofty demand,’ he might have added, anxious, like his creator, to eschew the hackneyed phrase. I considered the ed’s request. ‘What’s not to be glum about?’...

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