Great Britain

Parks Are Public: That Means Everyone

B&M 16 WC

Two years ago new control orders were introduced in the UK aimed at removing ‘anti-social disorder’ from public spaces. Under the so-called ‘Busybodies Charter’ dogs have been banned from at least 2,205 public places along with cycling, gatherings, fitness trainers and other groups using the open spaces. And this week, councils are trying to swipe chunks […]

PS. More on ‘The Working Class People’



The Two Words You Can No Longer Say In The UK


Whether we care to admit it or not, Britain is more divided by class than at any time since the mid-Victorian era. The upper classes, once branded by Alan Clark is the people who don’t have to buy their own furniture, may be embattled but they still own the greatest swathes of land in the […]

Raymond Kirkpatrick On Politics

Grabs from ITV show Steven Woolfe collapsed on the floor after a supposed altercation with fellow UKIP MP's at the European Government building, Strasbourg.

Raymond Kirkpatrick is a colleague of Arthur Bryant’s. The bear-like heavy metal-loving Professor of English is currently working at the British Library and is our occasional guest speaker. His opinions are very, very much his own. Blimey! So another Ukipper goes out for the count – literally this time. Some bloke called Steven Woolfe got […]

And Her Mother Came Too


Recently I went to dinner with a publisher who brought along his 85 year-old mother without even thinking to mention it. She proved to be sharp and funny, and enhanced the table considerably, preventing it from descending into an endless discussion about book rights. She certainly knew the square meterage of her home. (‘You must come […]

Getting There Is Not Half The Fun

BR Chaos

This weekend I hosted a birthday dinner for 26 in Barcelona, which required a fair amount of logistical manoeuvring as there were people coming in from, and going to, cities all over Europe and further afield. The ones from Madrid and other parts of the EU had no problem at all; they used the AVE […]

Inventing Creepy-Crawlies

Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus) male.

When I was a little boy, living near Greenwich Park in a suburban London street, we were surrounded by creepy-crawlies, the best being the prehistoric but weirdly adorable stag beetle. You could tie cotton to its legs and make it drag things. Then came daddy-long-legs (legses?), and you could pull all its legs off to […]

Could Brexit Win Over This Sceptic?

Herne Bay

Facts first. Every economist agrees that Brexit is starting to cost millions, possibly billions. The economy is slowing, house prices are falling, the pound is weaker, there’s no extra money for the NHS, no more EU grants for deprived areas, and we are inches from recession even prior to the triggering of Article 50. How does […]

The Legend of Jenny Green-Teeth


Duckweed is one of Britain’s most common small water plants. It forms a smooth green mat that covers bodies of still water. It has a simple body known as a thallus, which floats on the surface of the water, and a single root which hangs down. You find duckweed all over London’s canals in August, which might […]

12 Things British People Call Each Other


  Tosh 19th cent in the sense of ‘nonsense’, but its derivation as a nickname is less certain, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a diminutive of ‘kosher’, someone who scavenges in the sewers, especially in London during the Victorian era. The word ‘tosher’ was also used to describe the thieves who stripped copper from […]