Category Archives: Trivia

Vuvuzela for the NHS

It’s 8pm Thursday. Time to clap for the NHS. Thing is ours is a street of terraced houses on one side facing a primary school on the other, not tower blocks with packed balconies. So clapping doesn’t quite do it on its own.

Saucepan lids help of course. But this Thursday I remembered one of our souvenirs from 20 years in Cape Town: the vuvuzela:

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Sir Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin during the reception of the Erasmus Prize, Oct. 1983

Isaiah Berlin in 1983

Last time we mentioned The Hedgehog And The Fox, by Isaiah Berlin, a British philosopher and polymath who died in 1997. He was born in 1909 in Riga, which is now the capital of Latvia, but at the time was in Livonia, then part of the Russian Empire. When he was six his family moved to Petrograd (now St Petersburg), where he witnessed the 1917 revolutions. The family then moved to the UK in 1921. He went to Oxford, where he became a fellow of All Souls College in 1932. During World War II he worked for the British Diplomatic Service, including a spell at the British Embassy in Washington. In 1957 he was appointed Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford, and also knighted.

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Random likes and dislikes #2


West Highland Terriers
School-age climate change activists
Thomas Hardy
Visions of Johanna
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg


Parents publicising their offspring on social media
Sprawling groundfloor cosmetics departments with no obvious way out
Interviewers grilling EU politicians in general as if it’s their fault
Interviewers grilling Irish politicians in particular as if it’s their fault