A Day in the Life of …. a London Commute

A gentle stroll on a beautiful warm June evening sauntering from the Barbican Hall to Cannon Street station, I entered the last carriage of my train home having just witnessed the former FBI director James Comey being cross-examined by a BBC Newsnight presenter.  My thirty-minute journey would allow an opportunity to review my notes, or so I…

America First is the Foreign Policy Equivalent of Junk Food

  Here in the U.K., we often say that when the American economy gets a cold, Britain gets flu.  Even though that phrase was originally coined decades ago, the premise is still relevant in 2018.    However,  it’s a little too simplistic for a complex world undergoing huge change not least the challenges to advanced…

Disagree by all means but please don’t be disagreeable

“In Washington, you can disagree.  But you must not be disagreeable.” Anna Chennault   How appropriate are these astute words in the current hostile political climate both domestically and globally.  And equally, how appropriate in life generally is this sentiment, not least in the anonymity of the social media swirl – surely this would be the…

Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon – New exhibition at Tate Britain

Contrasting the Flesh of Freud against the Torment of Bacon “All Too Human – Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life” Having always been a fan of Lucien Freud’s portraits, it was not surprising to be delighted by the current collection on display at Tate Britain.  I counted 16 paintings in all by Freud…

Choosing One’s Path with Robert Frost

While walking Oscar in the woods, each time I reach this point I can hear the words of the American poet Robert Frost contemplating which path to take in life.  Of course this poem, below, has a universal appeal and the imagery is powerful as well as accessible.  I particularly love the line “way leads…

Thomas Jefferson’s Ten Rules

  On this day, 22 March, more than 200 years ago, (1790) Thomas Jefferson became America’s first Secretary of State under President George Washington.  As one of the founding fathers and the author of the Declaration of Independence, he provided political and moral leadership at a critical time in America’s history. Today, amid the revolving…

An Antidote to Brexit – No Man is an Island

  Photo of bust of John Donne in the grounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London 4 December 2017   Sometimes it feels as though there will be no end to the Brexit disaster story, and perhaps there is a fundamental truth in that instinct but some days, I have to switch off entirely from the…

David Frum on Trump’s Corruption of America

  Trumpocracy – The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum Earlier this month, I had the good fortune to be in Washington DC visiting family while David Frum was publicising his new book, Trumpocracy – The Corruption of the American Republic.   Frum was speaking at Politics & Prose which is not simply a bookshop…

Brexit and People Like Us (PLU)

  For anyone still interested in why the British public voted for Brexit, the extract below from the Financial Times last year in a letter from Mr Keith Craig, London SW7, perfectly encapsulates a complex set of circumstances into a pithy and succinct explanation.  You would be hard pressed to find anything better. Many would…

The Boarding School Girls

Reunited after 40 Years This was one of those rare enthralling phone calls jolting me out of my reverie and leaving me slightly befuddled for the rest of the evening yet it was a call that will be etched on my mind for a long time.  Hearing that instantly recognisable voice on the end of…

The Swagger of John Singer Sargent

‘The Great Gatsby Man’ To the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London this week to see the watercolours of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), the American artist who spent much of his life travelling in Europe and the Middle East, that is….when he wasn’t painting portraits of wealthy Americans.  It’s fair to say that his oil portraits…

The Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius

*If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it, and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.    Epictetus, one of the great proponents of Stoicism said something in a similar vein around A.D. 90,  i.e., events don’t…