Christmas chutney and Christmas shopping

OK, folks, it’s Christmas Eve eve, and the question is whether I can get away with it. There they are on the top of the fridge, a great glistening phalanx of glass pots. Inside those pots is a gibbering radioactive brown mulch, and you know what I intend to do with that nameless gunk? Continue reading Christmas chutney and Christmas shopping

No Third Runway at Heathrow

Like all parents, I morph into a second-rate, unpaid chauffeur at the weekends, and on Sunday I copped the ultimate horror: a trip to the airport. The nearer we got to Heathrow, the thicker the traffic became.

We inched down the A312 and at every traffic light I became more and more nervous that we would miss the flight, so that, by the time we came to the drop-off zone outside terminal three, I had to bundle the kid in the general direction of departures while fending off two separate officials who were taking down the details of my car. Continue reading No Third Runway at Heathrow

Christmas Tree Inflation

Christmas! I said, or words to that effect. I definitely invoked our saviour, and I was as flabbergasted as anyone involved in the Nativity Story itself. I stood stock still like the ass on seeing a child being born in a manger; I gaped like the Wise Men beholding the star in the east; and I quivered like dear old Joseph on being told by his wife that she was about to give birth to someone else’s child, but it was really quite all right, darling, and there was no case for jealousy and it was indeed a great compliment that she had been chosen by the chap in question. Continue reading Christmas Tree Inflation

Electric Technology

Some families spend their Sunday evenings at church. Some gather round the kitchen table for homework. Some have a nice family meal, complete with conversation, before sharing the washing-up.

But for many British families – and I would have to include my own in this category – the Sunday evening ritual is Top Gear, in which we slump on the sofa to watch Jeremy Clarkson and his fellow petrolheads as they celebrate the motor car in all its glorious forms. Continue reading Electric Technology

After Rome: Holy War and Conquest (BBC)

What a pity that this intelligent documentary that started on Saturday night is so condensed!  Boris was caught up in the Mayoral campaign after the two-part documentary had been commissioned but, ‘written and presented by’, it – so far – takes in a huge range of art, thought and world-class invited experts.  The Crusades, in their swashbuckling stories-for-boys image, are given a revisionary kick.  Mono-theistic religions are all given a history lesson.  The academic experts are articulate and balanced.  The economic arguments are merely hinted at rather than fleshed out.  The art that is accessed is fantastic – but underplayed.

This could be an Attenborough-style BBC project with Boris instead of David.  As it is, it shows Boris as a multi-lingual history scholar with great sensitivity to intercultural relations.  Not bad for a subsequently elected Mayor of a world-rated capital.