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…

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…

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…

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 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…

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

A brilliant production at the Harold Pinter theatre in London starring Andrew Scott.  Beg, borrow or steal a ticket! “Andrew Scott’s Hamlet is at pains to remind us that at the theatre we spy on ourselves”,  was the verdict by the Guardian’s Kate Kellaway. *********** Hamlet is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play and one that’s been…

Advice from Ralph Waldo Emerson and it’s a revelation

  “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.  Some  blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day.  You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with  your old nonsense.”   Ralph Waldo…

Warning Before Shopping

The next time you go shopping remember these wise words and save yourself some money in the process. “The consumer society is a giant tranquilliser for raw nerves.” Professor Theodore Zeldin, Oxford University   I’ve chosen the photograph above from my growing (groaning more like judging from the weight) collection not necessarily for religious reasons but because it’s…

Today is Bloomsday – A Celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses

Dublin today on 16th June celebrates one of its finest sons, James Joyce, the author of Ulysses (first published in Paris in 1922) and for those of you who have read this great tome, you may recall that’s the day on which the story is set.  Leopold Bloom is the protagonist hence the title “Bloomsday”….

Adam Smith – Still very relevant today

The ideal economy is one that is both profitable and civilised Today marks the birthday of Adam Smith (16 June 1723) who was one of the greatest thinkers in the history of economics.   He promoted the idea of a free-market economy suggesting it as the route to the healthiest and most stable society.  In…

Terrorism

“The goal of terrorists is to instil a level of fear in the public disproportionate to the actual threat.”   Chris Murphy, American Senator, Connecticut   The British philosopher, A.C. Grayling recently said that the aim of terrorism is to frighten civilian populations into forcing their governments to concede.  “It takes only a few determined…