Cows With Influence

As the River Thames leaves London it passes near our house and, with a magnificent sweep, it then heads west for Oxford and and its source beyond. The bend is best seen from the top of Richmond Hill, a vista that has beguiled locals for hundreds of years and when, at the turn of the…

Bodies in Question

On one of our early morning ‘lock-down’ walks, Rohan and I met a neighbour walking his dog. After the usual greetings and the now standard enquiries about health, Andy asked if I could clarify a medical issue for him. He, as a worried husband, was keen to understand how blood tests are used to detect…

A New and Special Friend

Sometimes I do things I can’t explain, perhaps more precisely I can’t justify. This blog tells of just such an instance. It might be the result of being cooped up for three months but that would probably be too simple. The fact is that I have just adopted a tree which, when I can, I…

A Boy Who Took a Moral Stand

Like everyone else, it is often difficult for me to know whether or not a childhood memory is genuine. The problem is that some of my ‘memories’ are based on events lifted from family photos or stories rather than on first-hand experience. This blog, however, is about a memory I know to be real; after…

Being Close While Staying Apart

 As creatures of habit, at four o’clock each day we drink tea with our neighbours. In the same spirit, two or three times each week we now share a sit-down meal with family or friends. Dealing with the government’s demand for social-distancing in public is difficult, even harder is being separated from those whom we…

A Mysterious Man in the Waiting-Room

With the news about the Coronavirus pandemic so bleak and threatening, my mind returns repeatedly to thoughts about staying safe, about the welfare of family and friends and about the future of society at large. My wife, Rohan, and I talk together about all of these issues but, we also feel the need to reminisce.…

Talking with Owls

Being influenced, indeed being changed, by my wife Rohan has been one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. This blog tells of an example of such influence. It was minor in the grand scheme of things, but still important. It relates to Rohan’s love of owls and how, gradually, this has become part…

“and finally some words of warning ….”

This story revolves around my love of lectures, a feeling that almost certainly started when, for several years, my father took me to the Christmas lectures at London’s Royal Institution. These lectures, which are part of a tradition going back almost 200 years, are mainly for children - my first visit would have been when…

Questions of Convention

This blog tells how, in two very different circumstances, ditching convention helped. The first instance is contemporary and relates to my playing chess; the second occurred in the early twentieth century when the artist Véra Pagava changed her style.  Once a week I play chess and it is a challenge I treasure. Just recently,  with the adoption…