A Change of Heart

This blog arises out of my love of wood and my reverence for trees, sentiments that developed when Rohan and I spent a weekend in a cottage in Dorset. I was twenty five and having just qualified as a doctor, was doing my first job as a house surgeon. That weekend we were the guests…

The Need To Be With Others

Little good has come from the pandemic, although it has taught me how much others mean to me. I now know that I cannot do without family and friends. I can’t imagine how I would have managed this last year without the close and steadfast companionship of my wife, Rohan, and the precious visits -…

Two Letters to Celebrate

Like many people, I have my heroes. Perhaps surprisingly, my current favourite is the French cartoonist Jean Plantureux. This blog is about Jean - alias ‘Plantu’ - and tells how I discovered his cartoons, and how two letters have meant that his hero status has been consolidated. The story starts with my struggle to learn…

A Week with My Mother

I have just spent a week with my mother - or so it felt. In fact she died 34 years ago when she was 78 and our time together now came courtesy of her biography. Professionally she was an actor and March 4th this year saw the publication of ‘The Performer’s Tale: The Nine Lives…

Vaccination: A Bitter-Sweet Affair

It was a wonderful feeling. Within seconds of being vaccinated, and after almost a year of gloom, isolation and anxiety, there was suddenly the prospect of a future free of the threat of illness. I would no longer be barred from being with friends and family, from going to theatres, restaurants and shops - the list is endless. I was given…

Three Mind-Tickling Jokes

Being amused is a wonderful treat.  At one extreme, whatever was funny causes a burst of uncontrollable laughter that takes over the body. At the other, a wry smile is the only sign of a contentment which, for a moment, dominates the mind. Interestingly, although the time and place of the guffaw-inducing episode is usually…

A Very Naughty Dog

Rohan and I are dog sitting and a fortnight ago, when we were out walking, our charge, Lupey (see Lupey and I Grow Old), was involved in a spat. She was ahead on her lead when, without warning, a poodle rushed up from nowhere and for no obvious reason nipped her leg. Lupey, who is…

The Garden at Number 17

Going for a walk each day is now part of our life. It all started last March at the beginning of the pandemic. Over time many of our walks have changed as we have become fitter and more adventurous, or in response to suggestions by friends. Recently there has been another reason - some of…

Lupey and I Grow Old

Each year since she arrived in England, our daughter-in-law, Ali, has gone to Canada for a few weeks to catch up with her family and friends. Between visits Ali’s mother, and sometimes her father, come to London. Ali missed her usual Christmas trip in December 2019 and with no parental visits since the pandemic began, the pull…

Who Cares Whodunit?

Years ago, probably in 1985, the calm of a weekend afternoon was suddenly broken by the sound of shattering glass. My wife, Rohan rushed downstairs to discover our three sons, aged 6, 11 and 14, standing in front of broken pane in the door of a kitchen cupboard. Her questions as to how it happened…