Never mind Cha Cha Changes Emily, what about Pas de Puberty? By Trevor Plumbly

Okay Em: I read it and whilst I realised the importance of the event to you and indeed to all of the fair sex, I couldn’t help thinking that you’ve had 40 years to ready yourself for the biological time-bomb while I only had about 13 to prepare for nature’s wake-up call to teenage boys. It’s not like ageing you know, you can’t just roll with the flow, it’s as swift and painful as a kick in the privates, if you’ll pardon the analogy. One day I was reasonably normal with more… Read More

Conclusion Thinking TMP* – rational thinking in an irrational world. By Emily Smart

Given the proliferation of help, advice and outright molly-coddling we have around us, it’s a small wonder anyone ever actually gets to think for themselves. The average person, earning a reasonable income, owning a home and raising a family, has an abundance of sources where they can ‘download’ their issues and get help finding solutions to moral, ethical, physical and mental problems.  And if they can’t directly find someone to help, they can seek those that have been in a similar position. From Internet chat rooms, self-help books, documentaries and Dr Phil… Read More

Mothers’ Tea Sets by Angela Caldin

Stamford in Lincolnshire is one of my favourite places to visit. It’s a beautiful limestone town, home of the characterful George Hotel, a comfortable old coaching inn with a luxuriantly leafy garden restaurant. It has Burghley House, a spectacular Elizabethan mansion, the Water Meadows with the starting point of the Jurassic Way to Banbury, and the Arts Centre where our Stamford friends perform and direct plays at the Shoestring Theatre. Last time we visited, one of our friends treated us to an old fashioned tea at her house, served in her late… Read More

Cha Cha Cha Changes. By Emily Smart

It’s a funny thing turning forty. Not funny ha ha, or even peculiar, more bloody annoying than funny actually. I remember when I was kid and my parents hit the big 40. In my mind they may just as well have turned seventy. I have been in my forties now for  a while and I am starting to realise just why people have a ‘mid-life crisis’ or look at things differently when they say goodbye to their thirties.

Eat This, Jumbo Mercer! By Trevor Plumbly

As you get older, you tend to reflect on the people who influenced your early life. Looking back, I can honestly say that Jumbo Mercer made a major impact in my formative years, but then if Stephen King had attended the same school he’d have had an impact on him too. Despite the nickname, Jumbo wasn’t fat; he was stocky, confident and showy, whilst I was skinny, nervous and introverted. Bullying in English single sex schools at that time was as much a part of the curriculum as the ‘three Rs’: they… Read More