‘Make Russia great again’: Why Putin’s annexation speech hit its mark

As perverse as it sounds, Vladimir Putin gave a pretty good speech on Friday in proclaiming the illegal seizure of four provinces of Ukraine where his military campaign is falling apart faster than a rusty Kalashnikov. I don’t mean it was good in the sense of being eloquent, morally uplifting or intellectually stimulating. It was … Continue reading ‘Make Russia great again’: Why Putin’s annexation speech hit its mark

Faith in endings: how grief nearly killed my love of books

Not long ago my son said something that hit me like a sniper’s bullet: ‘You’ve got loads of books in this house but you never read them.’ I felt ashamed. While never a gluttonous reader, I always enjoyed books and usually had two or three on the go. In a typical year I’d get through … Continue reading Faith in endings: how grief nearly killed my love of books

The lockdown list

The pandemic was giving everybody – rich and poor, young and old – a dose of isolation. And I was a veteran of isolation. I knew things would get worse, but eventually better. I knew many people would suffer and most of their suffering would go unseen. The main thing was not to despair.

Coronavirus: one faceless killer can conceal another

At first, when the shutdown was announced, I joked that my lifestyle as a widowed parent had become fashionable. If a government minister hadn’t announced on television that the bars and restaurants were closing I'm not sure I’d have noticed. After self-isolating for years, I felt as if the world had come to me. I … Continue reading Coronavirus: one faceless killer can conceal another