C’MON ENGLAND! … err, hang on?!

C’MON ENGLAND! … err, hang on?!

There’s a seismic shift in the air, a levity, optimism, wilful abandon of merciless mocking and eye-rolling ennui, for I am, hold the phone… slowly, gently, softly with a side of trepidation, kinda, maybe, sorta beginning to almost back this England side. How VERY dare you?! Why of COURSE you shall be supporting our Three Lions! Well, yes, but no but, and well ok here goes. Let me explain. To give a bit of context, I arrived on these fair shores in 2001 and for seventeen glorious years have enjoyed being a true Anglophile-American abroad, embracing the crumpet, PG Tips and Britain’s endearing pre-occupation with the weather. (Not cricket. I will never get cricket.) But every four years I have observed with head-scratching bewilderment and...

The Great H2O Hoax

The Great H2O Hoax

Small changes. That’s what all the lifestyle gurus are punting this year. 2018 is all about keeping it small; making a series of tidy, realistic, achievable goals offering quick and easily achievable bursts of self-satisfaction. Monumental, life-changing resolutions doomed to failure do more harm than good; so the theory goes. I’m all for it. With this in mind I had a think, and please, allow me this once to step on my soapbox and get a bit sudsy, I thought I’d try to be a better steward of the earth. After all, I’m in ok (enough) shape and as for that publishing deal? Earth to January. But something slip streaming more and more into the public consciousness is our unmitigated addiction to plastic, so I’m resolving to use less of it...

Homework Helpline: Top tips to keep kids and parents sane (and on speaking terms)

Homework Helpline: Top tips to keep kids and parents sane (and on speaking terms)

As another school year begins and our wee (and not so wee) ones’ academic careers roll along, so too does the homework. Sigh. As many parents know, it’s not only their’s, but ours, too. Young parents yet to experience such joy… just you wait. Softly, softly it starts with Biff, Chip and Kipper, then swiftly segues into handwriting, spelling drills, times tables, curriculum projects, book reports, essays, exams and so on. Tackling this bete noir has the capacity to sour the best of moods and turn home-time into a blood-boiling battle of wills. (What torment awaits with GCSEs and A-levels… I shudder.) So it got me thinking, what words of wisdom might I impart to parents both in the trenches and those about to approach the front line of the...

National Trust says embrace diversity and inclusion- or ELSE

National Trust says embrace diversity and inclusion- or ELSE

One would think the lauded lands, halls and manors of our esteemed National Trust might be the one refuge for families, tourists, staycationers and caravanning crowds alike to enjoy, explore and learn of the rich and varied history of this great country (yes, roll your eyes  BACK to the forward position all ye Remainers), a ‘safe space’ (to borrow from the liberal lexicon) to frequent free of political posturing and moral grandstanding. Or maybe not. At Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk a handful of long standing volunteers had been shown the stage door exit for refusing to wear the LGBT ‘Prejudice and Pride’ campaign accessories. (Since news broke boycotting patrons voting with their wallets have prompted a whiplash-inducing U-turn by the powers-that-be at the National...

Swifty’s shame of silence

Swifty’s shame of silence

These days politics is everywhere— it permeates every crevice of our lives– littering our social media feeds, emblazoned on egregiously overpriced ‘designer’ T-shirts and spewing forth from the lips of every award-winning actor given a microphone. There is no escaping it, no matter how we may try. Everybody’s gotta have an opinion. (So long as it’s the right one.) Given the current saturation of sanctimony, it can be refreshing sometimes to say nothing at all. Not so according to a recent interview with actress Lola Kirke, (I know. Who?) who takes political posturing by the celebrity elite to a new level, not only holding up the well worn celebrity soap-box, but boldly claiming famous people have a responsibility to get on it, or else. Right....