The state of the nation by Angela Caldin

Yesterday, I had two interesting conversations which I’ve been pondering on overnight. The food bank phenomenon I was on the tube when I met a colleague from my days in the magistrates’ courts. He’s a defence solicitor and therefore sees on a daily basis and at first hand the poverty and deprivation experienced by many of those who commit petty offences. He commented wearily that food banks are just about the only growth industry in this country nowadays. It’s true that food banks are springing up even in areas which are traditionally… Read More

The harms of Morpheus by Trevor Plumbly

Perchance to dream Humidity tends to screw up the old thought processes a bit and, instead of the age-regulated two bottles of Emerson’s Pilsner, I sneak a third in to avoid overnight dehydration. This, however, invites all sorts of nocturnal nasties, most of them political. In the latest I was being interviewed by Sarah Huckabee Sanders for a job as presidential spokesman. Mercifully, unless you’ve conked it, sleep’s an erratic state, but the nasties seem to know opportunity and pounce the minute I drop off. Thus, last night, I ended up in… Read More

Systemic stupor by Trevor Plumbly

Manna from heaven A recent news report from Canberra announced that some lucky Aussies could now get their groceries delivered by drone. To add a bit of credence to the piece, they included an interview with a grateful mother, who seemed to regard this technological turd as a lifeline. I’d like to say my heart went out to the poor creature, but it didn’t; I find that she’s rather pathetic compared to the women who work at life, instead of sitting around and expecting it to arrive. Millions of women cope with… Read More

An eating disorder by Trevor Plumbly

Food for thought An increase in mishaps involving stained clothing along with the newly proven fallacy that ‘I can manage!’ has forced me to accept that a change of diet will be needed if I want to continue to eat in public. It’s not the quality of the food or the presentation; it’s the mechanics of the thing. The stuff’s perfectly OK left on the plate, but when I try to eat it, it seems reluctant to accept its final destination, preferring instead my shirtfront, lap or the table-top. Being blind, I’m… Read More

The elusive cappuccino by Angela Caldin

When I was a child in the 1950s, if I wasn’t playing with the many shiny and exotic buttons in my mother’s button box, I would probably be reading from a book of poetry for children written by A A Milne, the creator of Christopher Robin, entitled When We Were Very Young. It was first published in 1924, and was illustrated by E H Shepard. It didn’t take long for it to become a best seller. Butter or marmalade One of my favourite poems was The King’s Breakfast, an engaging story of… Read More