Things could be worse

We haven't been annihilated by Russian missiles. The invasion of Ukraine continues, with thousands killed and millions made refugees, but it all seems far away, certainly far enough to be forgotten on a sunny day in May. I have a feeling that British interest in this war is waning, as it becomes almost normal, a…

Captain Corelli’s right thumb

It's one of those situations where people, especially those with a Brummie accent, will say, "I could see that coming!" Very, very annoying - and the more so because they are right. The trouble with a mandolin (or mandoline?), as opposed to a ukulele, say, is that it is an inherently dangerous piece of kit.…

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…

Keeping your pecker up

It’s a fortnight since I wrote my last blog on - you guessed it - Coronavirus, which certain persons close to home suggested was alarmist, depressing, over-reactive etc. But it wasn’t hard to guess that where Italy led we would follow - even if we are a few paces behind. If I sound like a…

Inside Story

Memories of 1980s Oxford, for the second time this month. In the same week in which I received an invitation to the Osma Centenary Symposium, Andrew informed me that he'd turned up a cassette tape from 1982 while looking (inevitably) for something else. He digitised it and emailed the result to Bernard and me. The…

Keep on strumming

I am an enthusiastic, if very limited, musician. I don't even think of myself as a musician - and neither does anyone else! I've never been able to read music properly, I've never had a lesson and I am certainly no virtuoso on any instrument. But music means a lot to me, and not just…

The Good Old Days

I was 19 in 1974. The year began inauspiciously with the Three Day Week, power cuts, a miners’ strike and a General Election. It was a matter of debate whether Ted Heath’s government was really in power or just pretending. I can’t say it bothered me much, apart from when the pubs were shut. The…

Pipe down!

Nigella Lawson says that the thump of loud music now found in some of the most fashionable (and expensive) restaurants leaves her unable to taste her food. She says she is "allergic to all noise including music in shops and restaurants… It is utterly draining. And it drowns out the taste of food. I’ve always…