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Being one of the boys

‘Everything degenerates into habit – nausea, vanity, everything. For a year after I began drinking beer, I couldn’t stand the taste of it. All I was getting was the satisfaction of being one of the...

Effect of high-altitude living

‘Extraordinarily rosy-cheeked, that girl.’ ‘Effect of high-altitude living,’ David said. ‘She comes from some tiny village up in the Italian Alps. You get that sort of thing above the fifteen hundred metre level. The small...

Brilliant skies

It was difficult to tell, looking back, how good a summer that had been. The records gave a statistical answer – at Kew, the century’s fourth best for dryness, the third best in hours of...

The winter begins

The light was poor, the bulbs glowing dully on the inadequate voltage. He ruffled the pages back awkwardly, peering at dates and headlines – back through the early days of scientific reports, dubious prognostications, tucked...

christian persecution jews

We’re a bad lot

‘We’re a bad lot,’ Father Edward said. ‘All of us, Jews or Christians. Christians have persecuted Jews, but they’ve persecuted each other just as much. It’s easier to persecute when you can recognize the ones...

deller madrigals countertenor

The English are manure

Father Edward seemed more at ease here than I was myself. I thought at first that he might have been here before with Siegfried, but his frank, appraising gaze round the walls made that unlikely....

Finish the game

I said to Solly: ‘Where did you turn up from?’ He said: ‘Benno and I enjoy a game of chess together. He wins mostly, but sometimes I run him close.’ They had met, I found,...

time-switch, economy

Cut the necessities

I went up to Liverpool occasionally. I had to, since Dadda would not travel down to see me. His meanness, far from relaxing in the post-war years, grew steadily more pronounced. He would not spend...