Mr Fox takes a Break

Unlike Rome, which plays host to wolves, or the suburbs of Berlin, where the intruders are wild boar, my patch in south-west London boasts an urban fox. With his lush orange coat speckled with white and grey, George - or should it be Vivienne - is impressive and, in his demeanour, takes the description of…

Not the 10 o’clock Snooze

It is almost two months ago to the day since I had my operation. As is common in men of my age, my prostate had grown uncomfortably large and was in need of a trim. The operation went well, but the immediate post-operative weeks brought some challenging moments when I contracted two bacterial infections that…

An Island People

Whoever is elected as the next President of France, he or she will wield more power than almost any other leader in Europe. What's more, with an unprecedented eleven candidates, of whom five were credible contenders, the choice presented to French voters has been more complex than ever before. In Tréguennec, a Brittany village with…

Jumping for joy

Mauricio Pochettino is the Argentinian-born manager of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club ("the Spurs"). He is seen as hardworking, assured, focused, steely and staid, and also as one of the best managers in the Premier League. Towards the end of a recent match he suddenly ran full pelt down the touch line jumping high into the…

Another world

I had been forewarned about the opening scene a few weeks earlier when I bought our tickets. I was about to pay when the smiley face of the man in the box office suddenly turned serious. He looked me in the eyes and with great solemnity delivered a prepared statement: "I should warn you, the…

Lasting impressionist

I was in a world of my own, puzzling over my recent run of form at chess - when playing against Fahar [see Reopening Gambit, Greyhares blog, 28 January 2016] it was most unusual for me to win four games in a row. Suddenly, all became clear; my success was thanks to my bishops and the…

The preserve of the tongue-tied

Mrs Miller moved like a tortoise. All her movements were slow, nothing sudden, nothing jerky; she was certainly not someone to be hurried. It was a concern about her shortness of breath that brought her to the clinic, and the diagnosis was soon clear; she had developed asthma. But, for her sake, her eerie slowness also needed…

Sam for all seasons

Just after Christmas, my wife and I went for a week to our cottage in Brittany. Our key aim was to begin to prepare the garden for 2017. As usual, we stopped over for a day in Paris. There, the streets had the same tell-tale trappings as at this time every year. Dumped on the…

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 tale of monarchs reborn

Diana and Yvonne had been friends since university. They meet once a year to catch up, but last week their meeting was different. Diana had just come back from a brief stay in Moscow where her life had been turned upside down. She went there to be immersed in the language and, in passing, to…