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Exiles in far islands

Jyoti who pickles her own starfruit, pineapple and  green mango

Currently  pertinent in regard  to colonial history,  the Karma Police are working overtime issuing warrants and ASBOs.    Unholy chaos in the Middle East (messing about with other peoples' borders and ideas of nationhood) as well as  news reports of rotten baby teeth in Britain, obesity, cancer and diabetes (linked to a sugar laden national […] Read More

Berlin Uber Cool


Berlin There is a whole way of living that has been carrying on outside my observational watchtower, because it is mainly the playground of the young  (under forties) although persons vulgarly called aging hipsters are allowed a grudging look-in. However, this exception to the rule admits only the very wealthy, very mad or geniuses (self […] Read More

Elham's Lebanese

Ignore the untidy jackets on the back of the chair and my bike seen through the window, leaning against the Oxford University Admissions Office but admire this composition of a copper coffee jug - covered to conserve the heat- the delicate barely sweet sesame biscuit, two flowered cups, a copper coloured spoon and a frosted […] Read More

Oxford Stalwarts (2) Susanna Pressel


  Note: All italics in parenthesis  are my own views, not Susanna's. You've been a Labour Councillor for 20 years, tell me about the high points and low points of your long political career. Susanna Pressel:  That's so hard to answer- everyday I meet people who are so positive and so appreciative, but two of […] Read More

Fave caffs (12): Boswells Tea Rooms


Is Boswells the only relic of the family department store this side of the Chilterns? Full of objets d'art, toiletries, handbags, luggage, "gift" china, obscure cookery and household items, linen and toys this shop is a treasured landmark. Owned by the Pearson family since 1890 we cherish this notable oddity for its variety of mothballs […] Read More

Unfave caffs: Dosa Park, Frideswide Square


What is the point of a  multi-million pound building declaiming the virtues of Mammon and Capital (and flaunting its diligent little aspirants behind plate glass in full view of passersby and skateboarders) when right opposite its sleek facade is a run-down Edwardian arcade of  shops and eateries that spell sleaze? Most outstandingly depressing among these […] Read More

Traditional costume from Iran

When I was a silly 10 year old my brother I played a game of pretending to be two Parsis called Freny and Homi and we carried on dialogues in funny voices between the imaginary pair and which we thought were hilarious. I found their names exotic and so different from run of the mill  […] Read More

Quiet week in Delhi


March 18 The week before Holi ushers in the summer-   prelude to what Babar the first Mughal described as a hellish inferno. Summer is so extreme that it sucks the marrow from the bones. Already, in the last quarter of March my limbs feel a langour and brain shifts automatically to first gear. 6.30 […] Read More


P1020800 (1)

Making music with other people sparks a unique kind of synergy that can become addictive. I sing in the Jericho Choir, under the direction of Stephanie Tait who is a very good musician and commands the respect and attention of the singers. Steph arranges songs by Radiohead and teaches energetic  African harmonies, starting  with a […] Read More

Hythe Bridge- dicing with the Grim Reaper


Ever since the crossing was re-designed earlier in 2015 I have ventured out on my bike in the awful consciousness that it could be my last ride. Between myself and the wing-mirrors of cars and trucks there is a whisper of a passage as I brave Hythe Bridge Street. I signal right and make for […] Read More