Brussels Sprouts

"I never forget a face, but in your case I will be glad to make an exception". Groucho Marx's famous line haunted me the other day as I tried, in vain, to remember  the name, face or other distinguishing feature of the first (and only) person I ever met who worked in Brussels with the…

In God (Alone) We Trust

When the news broke last Sunday that a Boeing 737 had inexplicably missed the runway at Bali airport and ended up in the sea without, miraculously, any loss of life, I couldn't resist a sardonic smile. In the closing pages of Swedish author Jonas Jonasson's improbably titled "The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared",…

Birthday Bloody Birthday

One night a couple of weeks ago I met up with an old school chum and his wife visiting for the holidays. Over one of those multi-coloured salads that replaced steak and chips as the late-night staple round about the same time our hair went grey, he mentioned that, just before coming away, eighty friends had joined him for a birthday…

Funeral Blues

Margaret Hilda Thatcher. She will always be Margaret Hilda Thatcher to me. You see,  for well over a hundred years now, when the English have  entered Polling Booths to vote in a General Election, they have  in the main been faced with 3 candidates - Conservative, Labour and Liberal (or hyphenated Liberal or hyphenated Labour or…

Losing Marx

"Another decade is traveling through, and I’m here, and you are there." Growing up in England, I was always taught that showing emotion was a weakness. So, as I read the above line in the New York Times the other day a fleck of dust must have popped into my eye and made it, and its twin,…