Diogenes in the Age of Reflection

‘You’re rather like Diogenes in his barrel’,  David declared on his fourth visit to my little cottage in Edensor.   Was that a compliment?   Well, on the principle of the glass being half full, I decided that it was.  I quite liked the idea of being perceived by the medical fraternity... Read more »

Despatches from Derbyshire Ice Field (2)

  0610 GMT  04/12/10   Minus 15 with precipitation!  Visibility 200 yards.  Ice!  Transport held fast.  Frost forming on rigging.  Troops down in mouth.  Fog freezing on beards!   Try to encourage.  ‘Chin up!’  But supplies low.  Half rations. Last banana.  No brandy.  Fear mutiny.  If no improvement, will try dash to base camp tomorrow   Scott, i/c expedition. Read more »

Despatches from Derbyshire Ice Field (1)

0755 GMT 2.12.10. Snow flurries overnight but pressure rising.  Blizzard yesterday made transport impossible; even sledges didn’t run.  By 6pm, snow tractor got through.  Now stuck in drift. Troops digging out.  Mount Sheffield completely cut off.  No radio contact.  Supplies will last another week.  Plenty of logs for oven.  Bags of flour,... Read more »


On the day, about seventy people turned up,  so many that Deborah let us use the bar and the restaurant and even organised a finger buffet at a very reasonable cost.  ‘Oh we’d do anything for Wally, and then she smiled, well, almost anything.’   Wally had worn his best suit, a... Read more »

A crisis of beans.

It wasn’t that she was meant to set fire to the hospital.  It just happened.  Well, it had been a long day and he had been on at her again!    ‘Have you recruited more volunteers?  Where’s the revisions on the protocol?  And have I seen the data from your last... Read more »

Yoga in the Park

We had completed the first set of asanas and were just relaxing into the pranayamas ‘Now alternative nostril breathing.’  Pinch your nose between the thumb and ring finger of your right hand, breathe in through the right nostril,  close the right nostril, breathe out through the left, breath in through the... Read more »

En vacances avec Monsieur Hulot

He’s one of those awkward people,  too tall and not quite coordinated.  He doesn’t so much walk as bounce along on the balls of his feet, his body held forward as if nearly falling over.  it’s like he is not of this world. He seems out of place, confused as if... Read more »


‘Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.’  It was like a metronome, every second.  Simon worked out that at this rate, she would say oh dear, 3600 times an hour,  up to 50,000 times a day,  15 million times a year.  But the mantra had some more intense... Read more »

Discovery! With a frozen grape.

Frozen grapes are delicious served with chocolate truffles and cream.  If you let them warm up a bit, you can bite through them and feel the cold juice squirt around your mouth.  But Roz found this difficult.    ‘I can’t eat these. I have sensitive teeth.’ ‘Well just try swallowing them and... Read more »

Not so much a Dame as a Sheila!

I was the first candidate after lunch.  I waited nervously outside sister's office.   The lady arrived late and loud, flanked by two co-examiners, who were chuckling politely.    She glanced at her clipboard and announced briskly;  'Now, Dr Read, examine this man's chest.'   I carefully went through the procedure, inspection, palpation, percussion, auscult.........  'Hurry... Read more »

A Night-time Visit

  It was half past nine in the evening and quite dark.  The phone rang.  It was dad.  He was very agitated.   ‘There are people in my house - lots of them; men and women.  They’re sitting on my settee. I have told them to go but they won’t.’   ‘Who are they... Read more »

Praise the Lord

They're raising the roof of the church today! The building's in scaffold, a big yellow crane Is removing the tiles that cover the nave And disturbing the sleep of the souls in their graves Oh, they're raising the roof of the church today.   They're raising the roof of the church today! The foreman's come round to... Read more »