Home life · Memories · Reading

“John Paul Sarter, the famous French extensionist …”

When I was growing up, we had a medium-sized bookcase filled with children’s books but only a handful of novels aimed at adults. Most of the books we had were published by Ladybird or Puffin. I even managed to read a few of them: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and the other six… Continue reading “John Paul Sarter, the famous French extensionist …”

Home life · Reading

“The piccalilli was the lurid colour of jaundice”

I continue to read very little. At the start of the year, I wrote this piece about “Reader’s Block”, prompted by Nigella Lawson using the phrase in a feature called “Books That Made Me”. I have read the odd book since January but am mostly out of the habit. My 14-year-old daughter has been making… Continue reading “The piccalilli was the lurid colour of jaundice”

Notes from West London · Reading

Vegans and Oxbridge Graduates

Here’s the first part of my favourite joke from recent years:   “Why did the vegan cross the road?”   I was asked this by a very polite, well-brought up woman in her 30s, who I have known since she was 3. Immediately after asking me the question she looked worried and said, “Oh, you’re not a vegan are you?”, as… Continue reading Vegans and Oxbridge Graduates

In the news · Language · Reading

“Thousand-yard stares”

Many phrases have entered common usage since Coronavirus began to dominate the headlines back in March: “social distancing”, “track and trace”, “immuno-compromised”. A phrase that has been around for many years but has only registered with me in the last few months, when reading articles about Coronavirus, is the “thousand-yard stare”. I first encountered it… Continue reading “Thousand-yard stares”