Recalcitrant Kindle

I have a Kindle Paperwhite ereader that’s over three years old. It’s worked well, which is just as well as I use it every day. Occasionally, though, it freezes and I have no choice but to reboot the device and then everything is back to normal. Today, that didn’t work. Repeated attempts at pressing the on/off button were in vain. I was weighing up whether to buy a new one when I … Read more

The Dancer

I’m on the dance floor for the first time in a long time. It’s Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice, my grandson’s favourite. We often dance to it together. The beat is intense and I’m on top of it, using all the moves I’ve choreographed in the privacy of my living room. At last I’m able to display my prowess. Now I’m moving like someone on steroids with St Vitus Dance. I spy … Read more

Falling out of bed

I fell out of bed last night, first time ever. It wasn’t my regular bed. One of our grand-daughters had taken up that space, and I was relegated to a spare room. The mattress is long past its use-by date, and there’s diminished support at the edges. I rolled over in my sleep and got a rude awakening when I landed on the floor, hurting my right hip. That was our previous … Read more

Spam, spam, spam

Recently I’ve experienced an upsurge of spam email in my inbox. Out of curiosity, yesterday I decided not to delete any but to allow them to fill up my Junk Email folder. By the end of the day I had received 41 items, the most I could remember. The main culprits were spammers promising to provide drinks that would reduce my waistline or drop my dress size (oi, watch it!), pills to … Read more

The Rescuer

Seagulls wheeling and crying overhead, waves breaking against the shore, his body embraced by the warmth of the sun, Erik yielded to the creeping languor and stretched out on his beach towel, hands folded over his stomach, cap shielding his eyes. Lynda lay face down alongside him, bikini top unhooked, reading a paperback she’d borrowed from the library. As he was drifting off, he caught snatches of an argument in a foreign … Read more

The Stud

At the age of sixty-three, Etienne Duval fell deeply in love for the first time. Liliane was thirty years younger — a fact that flattered him no end — widowed, childless, adrift on a sea of melancholy until they met. Each evening, after closing his boucherie, he visited her at her tiny flat above Boulangerie-Patisserie Gregoire where she worked. He brought her pork cutlets, lamb shanks, or sweetbreads for her supper. She … Read more

A slave to technology

I bought a FitBit a few months ago to help me stay fit. I set a target of 6000 steps a day, a modest total if you’re in the prime of life, less so when you’re my age. I manage to achieve this most days, but I can’t deny its effect on my daily activities. The FitBit counts steps by the swinging of the arm bearing the watch, so I avoid riding … Read more

A new left future?

If you believe the mainstream media you could be forgiven for thinking that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez’s victory in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th Congressional district against the 10-term incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley was merely reactionary, a need for change. In fact, it was more reflective of her constituency and its rejection of the status quo. Ms Ocasia-Cortez is a young socialist activist. She’s a third-generation New Yorker whose family has roots in Puerto … Read more

The peril of ignoring history’s lessons

One more thing about the creeping erosion of liberty in the name of security: underlying public acceptance of these measures is the assumption that we will continue to live under a benign government. History gives the lie to that. Look at Turkey, for example. Or Italy and Germany in the thirties, where the expectation that embracing authoritarianism would make everyone much safer. Except it didn’t.