A fistful of dollars by Trevor Plumbly

Flashing it It seems to me that money and discretion don’t accompany each other so much of late. Maybe Mother was right when she said, ‘A fool and his money are soon parted.’ But these days it seems some manage to hang on to the stuff and rub our noses in it at the same time. Do you know there’s a few squillionaires willing to pay 60 odd million dollars each for the dubious pleasure of floating round in space for a couple of days? What on earth’s wrong with these people?… Read More

Lead poisoning by Susan Grimsdell

In children’s story books you’re never in any doubt over who are the baddies.  Just looking at the pictures makes you shiver in your shoes and gives kids nightmares.  In real life, unfortunately, it’s impossible to pick them out.   I was reminded of this when I recently read Bill Bryson’s account of lead, as in lead-based paint, and especially, lead-based petrol.  Lead is bad news.  It accumulates in the body and causes all sorts of problems, to the brain, the kidneys, the nervous system, just about everything in fact, in adults, and… Read More

On the fall of the hammer! By Trevor Plumbly

Impressionists I hate to use ‘the old days’ cliché, but back then there was a drama about auctions that sadly looks like getting throttled by the Internet. I ran an auction house for many years and whether the offering was estate clearance or fine art, the faithful turned up, nursing visions of a starring role and the dream of a bargain, but most blissfully unaware of the predictability of the process. For the auctioneer, most of the punters were readable, from the dealer’s air of bored indifference to the novice’s fidgety excitement…. Read More

Fakery by Susan Grimsdell

Have any of you readers out there seen the video of the Queen doing an excellent TikTok routine?  Who knew she could move like that at the age of 95? Just incredible.  Well, incredible is the word – it’s a fake video going round the world, but it’s completely real in every respect other than that it’s not.  What’s worrying isn’t so much the making fun of our dear old queen, it’s thinking about what else we believe is real when someone has decided to do their best to fool us.  Finding… Read More

Resolution of a resolution by Angela Caldin

Last January, I made a New Year resolution not to buy any more clothes for the duration of the coming year. I’m happy to be able to report that I kept my resolution more or less. There were two blips: in August I bought some new pyjamas online because I had a sudden uncontrollable urge for some slightly more glamourous nightwear than the nightie I was wearing which has Trés Normal written on the front. This has always bugged me because there should be a grave accent rather than an acute one… Read More