Of the women, one had been famous for acerbic remarks at Hampstead wine parties; another for delightful tipsiness at Soho lunches. A girl of mixed race, with Afro hair, wore workman’s overalls and Dr Marten Boots. Her first, and only, novel, set in a Northern seaport, had been acclaimed.
I was in London with E on the weekend before the terror attack. She was visiting for the first time. I had made up my mind to show her as many sights as possible within three days. In my city. I may have moved from London to the countryside but still London remains my city.
Prince Charles wants to do battle with the grey American squirrel. There are too many greys in the UK and this is to the detriment of the native red squirrels, which are threatened with extinction. Prince Charles wants to attack the grey squirrels with Nutella. This prompted the locals to start talking about Nutella & Camilla.
I’ve always said that I would never go to a reunion, but there I was, in a restaurant on a foggy December evening in Nijmegen. I had travelled from the West of England to my birthplace in the Netherlands to be among my classmates from primary school. The boys (and two girls) of more than forty years ago.
Here in Malmesbury, the place where I’ve been living for a week or two, nothing much happens apart from the fact that the first person who was eaten by a tiger in Great Britain (in 1703) is buried here. The odd thing is that I, a dyed-in-the-wool city person, really like it.
Recently, when I had forty minutes to spare and was smoking a cigar outside Brussels South railway station, I thought: these are not the most wonderful of surroundings. In other words, quite a few oddballs were hanging around, but a relaxing cigar is enjoyable.