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…

Out of the Corner of My Eye

My life has changed in many ways since the start of the Coronavirus epidemic. Take, for example, how I relate to people in the street. Over the last nine months I have developed the keenest of eyes for spotting fellow pedestrians who are, or will be, too close for comfort. In one circumstance, however, detection…

A Short Walk With Trimmings

On most days since the March coronavirus lockdown, Rohan and I have gone for walks. There are now dozens that fan out from our home, each with its particular characteristics. The more ambitious amongst them last over two hours, some take an hour or so, only a few take less.  This blog is about a favourite…

River, Neil and the Real Deal

Throughout the pandemic, Rohan and I have spent hours talking on screen with family and friends. Indeed, for us and many others, such conversations have become part of our everyday lives. However, while the ingenuity of the likes of Zoom, Skype and FaceTime is extraordinary, for Rohan and me it comes at a cost. In face-to-face conversations with those close, the ability to ‘read’ mood,…

Women’s Voices

Earlier this year, and I have forgotten why, it was suddenly important for me to know how to spell Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. In no time I found myself on Wikipedia scrolling down a list of ‘Significant Russian Composers’. As I descended from the ‘A’s, apart from the sheer numbers - there were well over four…