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The Bell Inn Langford- made famous by Giles Coren

Giles Coren seems to have assumed the mantle of the late A.A. Gill. His restaurant  reviews-  not always polite, so amusingly bitchy, and sometimes so fulsome that one can only envy his luck and the deep pockets of his newspaper. His latest obsession is churchyards, which lure him to neighbouring pubs, such as The Bell […] Read more

Strawberry Hill Forever

                      Are we in Westminster Abbey, or in a medieval castle?  No, this is the Gothic Wendy house built over a period of 40 years by Horace Walpole. He was the son of Robert Walpole who was effectively Prime Minister throughout the reign of George […] Read more

Jive Queen

Twenty years ago, in the summer of 1998, Deepa Sarobar came to have lunch with me in Oxford. We went for a walk along the Oxford Canal and came home to Kingston Road for tea and cake.Someone must have obliged with my camera, but I don’t remember who it was. Perhaps it was the lock-keeper, […] Read more

Life Among the Scorpions

LIFE AMONG THE SCORPIONS: Memoirs of a woman in Indian politics (Rupa and Co. 2017, 294 pages, available from Amazon) No Indian woman has written openly about the stresses and hassles of functioning in the political sphere- it would be too embarrassing to mention sexual harassment in a society that purports to revere leaders and […] Read more

A Short History of my Coats

So eagerly looked forward to and so disappointing, Northern winds dash our dreams of  an early Spring and even though the  almond blossom flashes knicker pink as I cycle past the University church and fragile petals on plum trees light up Woodstock Road, those winds are shaking them down like snowflakes. This morning as I […] Read more

Fave caffs (14): Tumbling Bay

Should you crave a plate of something delicious: mushroom stroganoff, broccoli, spinach and pea soup, chickpea, spinach and tomato curry, sweet potato, kale and quinoa cakes with a small crisp salad (my favourite) then seek out the modest little community cafe off the Botley Road. It  lies at the back of a functional looking building  […] Read more

The paper cutters of Mathura

    You could snip through an artery in a trice if you owned a priceless pair of scissors like the ones in the picture belonging to Ram Soni, eldest of four paper cutting artists. “The blacksmith makes ten and only two will be fit for purpose. They must have the right balance and grip, […] Read more

High Altitudes in Mehr Chand Market

Before I touch base in C block Defence Colony, the home of my brother and sister-in-law, I direct the taxi which has fetched me from the airport to Altitude Stores in Mehr Chand Market. I think the market is named for Mehr Chand Mahajan, the third  Chief Justice of independent India and the first, albeit […] Read more

Nepali Christmas in Delhi

  Christmas Day in Defence Colony dawned with much more than the usual mist and smog. It was suddenly colder and there was no sighting of  sun behind the dull sky. I missed the 8 o’clock Hindi service and then the 9 o’clock English service at St Luke’s, so I went instead to a wonderful […] Read more

This Is Just To Say I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox   And which you were probably saving for breakfast   Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold “What’s that poem by William Carlos Williams? The one I love?” And Laura, the delightfully whimsical wife who loves nothing […] Read more