Thrill of The Chase

The BBC reminds us that the UK's first lockdown began a year ago today. At that point 364 people had died; now the total has reached 126,172. Over half the adult population has been vaccinated: an incredible achievement, many times better than what any other European country has achieved, and yet life has not returned…

Girl on the Tube

Having lived in Wirral and Oxford until I was 22, I'd but rarely travelled on the Tube until I started working in Upminster. Even then, I travelled mostly by bus or I walked. It took me a while to work out where the lines were connected, how to avoid the interchanges with the longest walks,…

Doing it yourself

Since I last posted I’ve been busy. Not full on busy... but then it’s hard to know what others are doing - aside from The Wife, who’s been beavering away, non-stop. Meeting after online meeting, all day long. Then she gets up early the next day to get some actual work done. So I ought…

The internet and me

"Where would we be without the web?" says everyone I talk to. Mind you, nearly every conversation I have is on the internet these days, so they would say that, wouldn't they? Shares in the company that owns the Zoom platform have, appropriately, rocketed. It’s not only Zoom, one of many technologies that allow meetings…

All over the place

How are you coping? If you feel you are coping, that is? As I noted to a friend, I veer between manic activity and shameful indolence on a daily basis.  At first, upon seeing my wife spend all day seated at the dining room table in one videoconference after another, I experienced a bout of…

Musings on retirement

As mentioned in a previous post, I joined the British Library in January 1986 and left in March 2015, retiring at the age of 60. So that's more four and half years ago (I haven't lost my razor sharp brain) and it won't be long until I am 65. I have restrained myself from writing about…

Not fade away

I had a long one-on-one lunch and even longer conversation with a former colleague this week. The theme of memory, and loss thereof - personal, cultural and institutional - quickly emerged from our discussion of couple of recent incidents. He'd recently met, by chance, an old friend in a part of London he rarely visits…

Second chance

How often do you fail at something important, and get a second chance? As previously recounted in Useless Information, when I was a postgrad at Queen’s, back in 1983, I was picked for the University Challenge team. I've always been a fan of the show and I was fortunate to (still) be at college when…