Reflections on Reality

In May each year we visit the Isabella Plantation. In this floral haven in Richmond Park azaleas blossom along the edges of streams and ponds, where their spring display of a myriad different and delicate colours is simply breathtaking. At the height of the season earlier this year, Rohan and I stood on one side of the tiny, and aptly…

Scotland, Hope Springs Eternal

We have just returned from a wonderful ten days in Scotland. The trip was not part of our original summer plans, rather it was a hasty rethink prompted by a wretched pandemic. From late May to early October we would normally be in our house in France. Last summer we managed a visit squeezed between two…

A House of Contrasts

  When our miserable year’s lockdown was over, the first museum Rohan and I visited was the house of Joseph Mallord William Turner. The exhibition there was a modest affair. The house, however, which was designed and built by Turner was a delight and a revelation. In 1807 Turner, then 32, bought two plots of…

Abram Games: The Man Behind the Icon

Just over seventy years ago, on May 4th 1951 to be precise, the Festival of Britain opened to the public. Within a week, my parents, my five year-old sister, Sarah, and I had visited the exhibition and I have never forgotten the aura of the occasion and the excitement it engendered. I don’t understand why…

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…