Cutting Edge, Cutting Cost

For several days in mid-February I was obsessed with a particular aspect of geometry - thickness. First it was the thickness of a slice of bread, then that of an envelope. On both occasions the critical measure was five millimetres which, in imperial units is equivalent to just under two tenths of an inch. On the…

Peter the Renovator

Three or four times each day I walk past the church of St Mary Magdalene in the centre of Richmond. The paths that run through its cemetery are part of my route to almost everywhere. In one form or another, a church has been there for nearly 800 years. However, despite my love of old…

Roll over Beethoven

We are inseparable. For years my iPad and I have been constant companions. But despite the magical ways in which it gives me access to friends, stores my data, informs me about almost anything, and supports me when I write and publish, there are times when it also drives me mad. I have not yet…

The talented Mr Ripley

Eating arrangements, like much else in my childhood, were very controlled not to say regimented, therefore delicious Sunday roasts and, for a short period, grilled sausages, were a welcome relief. Sunday lunch and the atmosphere were dominated by the main course, which might be roast chicken with bread sauce, a shoulder of pork with crackling and apple…

A case of nostalgia

May was a good month for reminiscences and, interestingly, many of my reflections were in keeping with a recent change. One might have predicted that with age, one’s thoughts of recent forebears might diminish, however, they are now on the increase. [twocol_one first=first] My thoughts last month were dominated by images of my father and…

The estuary boys

Puzzling over accents gives me enormous pleasure. Trying to work out a person's origins from their voice is an obsession [see In a manner of speaking  Greyhares, 9 September 2012] and there is little more disquieting than hearing an accent that I cannot place, or one that jars.  At the same time, disguising my own voice…

Cutting the cord

Already this year I have spent three months in France and I plan to be there for at least another two. Next year I imagine it will be even longer. Inevitably, with these extended periods abroad, I began to wonder exactly where I belong - a question which, at my stage of life, comes as…

Magic well

Joe Collier discovers lost well in garden. Authorities now looking into it. Last week I sat twiddling my thumbs. I had planned several summer projects but all had been thwarted. Finally, my wife suggested that if I had nothing better to do, why not look for the well in the front garden. We learned of…

Friends reunited

My elder sister died last summer. Were she still alive I don’t think she would be too surprised to hear me describe one aspect of her character as that of an inveterate collector and hoarder, with strong magpie tendencies. Accordingly, her flat was filled with treasures. These have now been sorted and two particular treasures…

Strictly Heaven

Once tea was poured and pleasantries were over, talking began. I was round at Martha’s and on that particular morning our discussion naturally turned to the previous night’s final of Strictly Come Dancing and to its winner, the drummer Harry Judd. ‘Strictly’ is not everyone’s favourite programme but Martha and I are devotees and in…