The Bishop’s Portakabin

7th March 2013 0

A few days ago I visited what is acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful parish churches in England. I was horrified by what the philistines of the Church of England had done to its interior. I won’t mention which church it was, for it was by no means the first church I had seen so aesthetically vandalised and … [Read on]

Grog Blossoms

7th March 2013 0

Not every painter reputed great pleases me, and among those who do not is Jacob Jordaens (1593 – 1678). There is an exhibition of his work on at the moment the Petit Palais in Paris, and as I left I heard a French woman sigh as she, too, left, ‘That’s enough for me.’ My sentiments exactly. Jordaens is best known … [Read on]

A Fearful Lie

7th March 2013 0

Although I don’t practice medicine any more I still read some of the medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. A banal sentence in a multi-authored paper in that august publication caught my attention last week: The first and last authors vouch for the accuracy and completeness of the reported data and analyses and for adherence of the … [Read on]


10th December 2012 0

Last week I went to a dinner for the retired consultants of the hospital in which I had worked. How everyone (apart from me, of course) had aged! I have seen the future and it is death. But let that pass. It was only six weeks from Christmas, and so, in this land where Christmas lasts at least three months, … [Read on]

Out of All Proportion

17th November 2012 0

The feats of the modern economy are, despite the present crisis, still considerable, indeed astonishing, if only we stopped to think about them instead of taking them for granted. For example, the Times arrives in the western part of Turkey where I stayed recently not much later in the day than in Shropshire where I live: and even its arrival … [Read on]

Crime and Punishment

10th November 2012 0

Of all the many foolish and inaccurate metaphors, one of the most foolish and inaccurate, it seems to me, is that of prisoners having ‘paid their debt to society’ on their release. The metaphor is in international use: I saw it recently in a French newspaper. The article was about Philippe El Shannawy, of an Egyptian father and French mother, … [Read on]

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

10th November 2012 0

I witnessed an instructive but depressing little scene three days ago. I was on an escalator in the Paris Metro at quite a busy time of day when a young man in international slum-costume and face as malign as the late Mark Duggan’s who was standing a few steps ahead off me used a spray gun to scrawl his initials … [Read on]

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