Category Archives: Stories

Long division

A woman got onto the train the other day and sat down opposite me. She was fifty-ish, tanned and smartly dressed. She had come from the airport and was breathless. We chatted and I learned that she had been to … Continue reading

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Born storytellers

“We’re a narrative species,” said the scientist on Radio 4 the other day. “We understand the world in terms of stories.” He was talking about the MMR vaccine and how the stories of danger that have grown up around it … Continue reading

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Dreaming spires

Six years ago, in March 2011, we were about to set out for our second ever Dark Angels masterclass at Merton College, Oxford. I had written the previous week in this blog about a strange dream I had had, in … Continue reading

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Secrets and lies

Last autumn I started giving an illustrated talk which, I now realise, has been waiting more than six decades for its moment. The subject is my great-great-uncle, the writer, politician, horseman and adventurer, RB Cunninghame Graham, about whom I’ve written … Continue reading

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A fine balance

Over the last 20 years I’ve made nearly a dozen trips to India. Each time I find myself re-enchanted by it, and each time by some new or different aspect of the place. I was born two years after Indian … Continue reading

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The Gutenbergs

No one would deny that Gutenberg is a name with which to conjure. Johannes Gutenberg transformed society with his invention of mechanical printing in the 1440s. Half a millenium later, in 1971, Michael Hart, an American student, wangled himself time … Continue reading

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Spanish tales

I watch my 88-year-old mother’s gradual decline and see her reaching for memories sometimes as if they’re a glimmer on some distant horizon. My mother has Alzheimer’s, although it has been kinder to her than to many. She exists mainly … Continue reading

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