Boris Johnson and the unfortunate nature of his reality

I am, on balance, glad that Boris Johnson exists. He has a blond dandelion of hair that is forever falling in his eyes. He says ‘cripes’. He’s somewhat stout. He’s an old Etonian but forgets to tuck his shirt in. I find him comforting in the same way that I find Jeeves and Wooster comforting. It would be even better if he had a monocle which kept falling into his soup, and if a young scamp called Toby kept on tying his shoelaces together whenever he sat at the dining table, and then cut the buttons off his braces so that his plus fours fell down when he stood up. He needs a long-suffering sidekick, an Austin 10 and series of scrapes which culminate in fat old Sergeant Barnes chasing him across a field which unbeknownst to them contains the most ferocious bull in Hertfordshire, leaving them stranded in the same tree and becoming firm friends until later Barnes discovers that it was Boris who inadvertently tipped off barmy Lord Abercrythe that the sergeant had eaten the last of his favourite fruitcake when he was supposed to be guarding the duke’s eccentric doily collection.

I suppose what I’m really saying is that it would be better if Boris Johnson were a fictional character, as then we could enjoy his improbable bumbling charm without having him fuck our largest and most important city to dust. Continue reading



I noticed something new yesterday. I was lying in an undignified knot on a sky-blue crash mat, my nostrils full of the smell of sweat and loose-fitting cotton. And the thing I noticed was that my yoga teacher’s joints make audible popping sounds when she walks.

How can this be? She is the most yoga of all people. Her bones are thoroughly cleaned and given a light coat of fresh skin each morning. She is as svelte as a pumiced greyhound in a wind-tunnel. And yet her joints pop quite loudly when she walks. The noise brings to mind Mexican bandits celebrating on a distant hillside. Continue reading


On being chased out of a Helsinki graveyard by a squirrel

Have I ever told you about the time that I was chased out of a Helsinki graveyard by a squirrel? If so, stop reading now, because the rest of this describes the time I was chased out of a Helsinki graveyard by a squirrel. I think you will find it a tale that is at once strange, unnerving and – perhaps most of all – deeply boring. It is also, in every detail, perfectly true.

Continue reading

A book in progress

I really ought to describe this in more depth, but since I’ve failed to make enough time to write the book, it seems even more difficult to take time to write about it.

Anyway, it’s about a South African woman who ends up becoming a nurse in the Boer War of 1899-1902. It is emerging from the ashes of a previous book set in the same period, which I abandoned in 2009.

One day I will write more about it.