My friend Eric

I was delighted to see my old friend Eric last weekend. Eric and I grew up on the same street in Upton - where my parents still live. But we had not seen each other for more than 40 years. Whereas he went to Liverpool University to study law and still lives in Wirral, I…

Je ne regrette rien

That Anne and I have had a holiday home in Charente for nearly 20 years is no secret. It is a source of constant, ineffable smugness. I wonder if we would have had the guts to do it today. With Brexit looming (I have avoided mentioning it in this blog until now), we would almost…

Moscow in the dark

October 1979: I was still, or again, (depending on which way you looked at it as I'd returned to do post-grad work) studying at The Queen's College Oxford. The college offered me the exalted if ridiculous-sounding position of Vir Probatus (Junior Dean) if I abandoned the slum that was 41 Bullingdon Road and moved into…

Lost thesis

Complete works of Pardo Bazán

A couple of months ago I was introduced to Nick, the newly elected Chair of the Camberwell Society, who teaches Modern Languages at a local public school. Over a pint he mentioned that he had studied Spanish at Exeter University; we talked about the late professor, Maurice Hemingway, who had examined my M. Litt. so…

Ageing rocker

I'd had enough of working for a living, at least for a while, so I moved back to Oxford to be with my girlfriend Hilary. I joined Bernard's band, together with my old schoolmate Andrew, our fellow housemate Wiff, and a young classically-trained drummer from New College called Paul. We added a female singer, a…