The Little British holiday

Brittany is (or was originally referred to as) La Petite Bretagne - did you know that? It was a place of refuge for Britons escaping from the Anglo-Saxon invaders of their homeland. Or maybe they just wanted to go somewhere a bit warmer, as millions of Britons still do. Having had a holiday home in…

Girl on the Tube

Having lived in Wirral and Oxford until I was 22, I'd 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, and…

Wheeling the oils

Here's a middle-class, 21st-century question. Where do you get your olive oil from? I am more than old enough to remember when the answer was almost invariably "Boot's". Olive oil in tiny Crosse & Blackwell bottles were sold in pharmacies for unblocking your ears. That was the only place I encountered olive oil until I…

The Little Escape

We finally made our way out of London on Bank Holiday Monday (how can you tell during a lockdown?) and drove south for an hour or so into Kent past Churchill's house, Chartwell. It was the first time either of us had ventured more than four miles from home for 10 weeks. It felt odd…

Avoid it like the plague

Last week I visited Arrowe Park Hospital (A.K.A. Coronavirus Central) with my father, who'd been sent for an X-ray. Our visit was enlivened by the sighting of a rat making its way swiftly and confidently along the corridor. Eventually the poor wee thing was cornered and forced to surrender to overwhelming force, i.e. a woman…

Why I love Greece

My first visit to Greece was in April 1971. I was 16¼. Although I’d just dropped Greek for Spanish at A Level (and never regretted it), I was still studying Latin and Ancient History. My former schoolteacher Eddie O’Hara, subsequently a Labour MP, had the ambitious and slightly mad idea of taking a dozen teenage…