Archive for December, 2009

“But why were you flying it out of your bedroom window?” I asked my son as he held the base of ladder. The damp chill of Boxing Day morning made the aluminium rungs very cold and slippery. Holding the rake in one chilled hand and wobbling at the top of the ladder I managed to […]

Merry Christmas


Email from Amazon arrived last night headed “Need a last-minute gift idea? Send a Gift Certificate”… Their customer intelligence is first rate. That’s the great thing about the online world. You can do things at the last minute. Which is why I haven’t sent you all Christmas cards, even though you are great friends… Because […]

Present tense


It’s too early to panic. I went to a large London department store at lunchtime yesterday to buy an iron. The shop was packed with lots of people queuing to pay for a couple of Christmas cards or a calendar. Thousands more were shuffling round the aisles with a hunted look in their eyes. They […]

Come on


By the time you read this the moment will have passed. I’m sorry. That never usually happens. But I’ve just found out that it’s Global Orgasm Day today. How was it for you? Apparently we live in a “vibrational world of moving energy”. If enough people experience strong feelings or emotions at the same time, […]

The headlong rush to Christmas has been stopped dead in its tracks, or rather slithered to an undignified halt, with a sudden bout of seasonal weather. It is just like the Christmas cards promised, but actually not quite what many people want on the last shopping weekend before Presents Day. I’m quite relaxed though. I […]



Did you know, in Norway, so I’ve heard, some people keep a tin of dog food in the car in case they get stranded in the snow and need something to eat? They know that it will always be there in an emergency because you will never eat dog food when you are just feeling […]

Softly falling


Snow falling in London is best enjoyed from a window. Preferably high up. At street level it is just wet and cold, but there is enchantment in watching snow falling against a backdrop of dark Victorian brickwork. The mood in the office changed the moment that someone glanced out of the window and said “Oh, […]

Res publica


Has a committee ever achieved world domination in anything? I was pondering this question tonight, whilst thinking about a business challenge. I couldn’t come up with any convincing examples of long-term, far-reaching dominance by committee in any sphere of human endeavour. Perhaps China will prove the exception. Maybe the Soviet Politburo was a pretty good […]

On Monday Gordon Brown said everyone would have a new smart electricity meter by 2014. On Wednesday a man in a van arrived to install our new super clever meter. On Thursday we spent all day switching off applicances and marvelling at the technology that allowed the little screen in the kitchen to show just […]

Brown study


The Prime Minister will be pleased. The presence of the spying smart meter is already changing long-established domestic practice. We just found out that the dishwasher has got a timer function to allow off-peak use and I’m charging my laptop at night and running off the battery during expensive energy periods. I’m looking for a […]

One moment the government is announcing that every home will have a smart meter fitted by 2014. The next day there is a man knocking on the door to fit one here at Southfork. I am impressed by the speed at which policy becomes practice. An hour later we have entered the digital eco age. […]

Like a virgin


Twitter story no. 2 A baby by Christmas? She said. Me and Joe? Impossible. Afterwards all she could remember were his angel eyes. And the baby’s name.

Not a lot here


Through the window in today’s advent calendar…

At the risk of prompting a mass defection… people who read Alex’s blog might also like to read his brother’s more interesting blog, especially if they are planning a wedding, or have daughters. ps Today’s advent calendar is just a click away.

Sheep dip


London. Evening rush hour. It is raining. And raining. The downpour is intense. It is like the Lake District, but with less sheep. The tube from Victoria is packed. We stand with face pressed against dripping shoulder. Arms pinned by our sides. Shuffling. Like sheep. “Baa.” I say. “I’m not going on the tube to […]

White Christmas


I’ve been doing some painting. White gloss, not fine art. Thousands of years of human evolution and no one has invented a good way to clean paintbrushes. Where has all the creative energy of mankind been directed? It is the end of the Jedwardian age for heaven’s sake and I’m still cleaning my paintbrush like […]