Fleeting Moments

Simenon’s work features some of the most searingly genuine and true characters I’ve ever found in a novel. They can often be bizarre and are never bland but I cannot think of any that aren’t strickingly human. In seven volumes, Proust explored jealous love. Time and time again, Simenon captured a jealous lover in a…

‘Happy’ Birthday

25th March 2017 The European project was begun in earnest 60 years ago today. But the festivities today will be rather muted. As we march through London today, I hope it will be seen as a pro-EU demonstration but cannot ignore its antipathy to out governments apparent negotiating strategy. Let’s suffice today with a brain…

New Frontiers

July 2016 We were supposed to be staying with friends of JD but they had forgotten and skipped town. So we checked a map and decided to go on to Bratislava. Slovakia would be the first new European country I had visited since Ireland two years ago. (It was also on this train ride that…

The Journey Continues

13th November 2016 I intended this blog as an exhibition of all that is great in Europe. It increasingly feels like a record of Europe’s retreat.  On Sunday, Bulgaria elected an anti-migrant, pro-Russian president prompting the PM’s resignation the following day. At the same time, Moldova elected their own president on a campaign to reverse…

Terrorised

2001 After 9/11 and with many of our parents working in the centre of London, my school lifted its nascent ban on mobile phones. Our heavy, monochrome mobiles (mine still had an antenna) would be allowed on school premises, kept in our lockers, in case we were called upon to jam the networks attempting to…