The New Religion of Sport

I can’t say that the British invented competitive sport, but the Victorian schools created a worldwide interest in sport. We invented most of the modern sports, created a structure and codified the games with laws and rules. Sport is at the heart of British society. A proper fan always supports his own team, but they…

God Bless American Women

In my 20s I was a radio DJ. Once every week for three hours the patients of the Whittington Hospital in North London had the pleasure to listen to me and my selection of music. I can imagine my children cringing at this thought, but I would point out to them that this was long…

We All Need an Alter Ego

I am a curious person. I like odd and unusual facts. I like to know about the unusual. When I am writing I need to check not just facts but personalities and all that takes me to many an odd internet site. Then, to follow the enquiry may require an email address and that alone…

Quora Virgin

To bring my writing to a wider audience, and in an act of blatant self-publicity, I have started to respond to questions on Quora. It’s a strange place, occupied by a huge global audience of 100 million users, and gives a wonderful real-life view of the world. It is a large community. It is truly…

The Seven Virtues #5 Diligence

I went to the internet to look for quotes about hard work. As you would expect, they are many, and not just from any old minor celebrity but from the good and great. Here’s the first, A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. Colin Powell. Without fail, they…

The Fastest Way to Lose Money

If there is anything that comes between Sasha and me it is money, or more accurately my lack of money. I should be comfortably off, but the truth is that this crazy decision to become a writer has changed all that. Of course, nothing is quite as simple or straightforward as that, but in essence,…

XXX It’s a Secret

Ben and Hannah are now away on a honeymoon in Italy. I know exactly where they are, but there are some things that just don’t need to be shared. Until she was on her way Hannah didn’t know where she was going. Ben had kept it a secret. I have never talked to Ben about…

Beethoven, Choirs, Weddings and Sex

My love of choral music, in its many forms, is long-standing and even embraces one of my more memorable sexual encounters. It was late summer. It was a Friday and the last but one night of a Proms season but also the night before an early season rugby match. I had planned to stay home…

Wow that Vow

Today I am driving up to Cambridge for the wedding on Saturday of my son, Ben to Hannah. It goes without saying that I am excited and very happy for both of them. Marriage changes everything while changing nothing. You don’t love someone more because you have married, but standing in the church, making your…

About Writing

Do you ever look at Quora? If not, then let me tell you about it. It is a free, user-driven Q&A site on the internet. Users can pose a question and readers reply with their thoughts and observations on the World. Sometimes there are sensible questions, often they are very silly. Is England a totalitarian…

43% Human

It used to be said that you are what you eat, but that is old hat. Now it is much more, you are what eats you. I’d better explain. You think you are human. You know you have some dormant genes but still, you are homo-sapiens. That’s what you thought but you are wrong. The…

Don’t Knock History

Recently, I listened to a BBC radio programme, The Long View, which compared the Facebook Cambridge Analytica data row with Luther's rejection of Purgatory and a loss of trust in the Church in pre-Reformation Europe. It was another reminder that even though technology and society have changed, and the world we inhabit today would be…

The USA: Historically Protectionist

America is the bastion of free trade. It is the heart of cowboy, buccaneering, capitalism. It is what the Right-wing love about America. It may be what they like to love but it is wrong. That’s right, wrong. The major part of American history is protectionist. What President Trump is doing now with his new…

Just off for an Orgasm

I never know where I am going to get my inspiration. Some days it is OK to ask me and on others, it is probably best just to accept it and let it be. Today is one of those. Thursday, June 21, 2018, is World Orgasm Day. Yes, you read that right.  The website, globalorgasm.org,…

Clean Meat – the New Science

Bacon sandwich for breakfast? Not for me because I don’t eat meat.  It was a conspiracy of circumstances that took me to vegetarianism. I had already stopped eating red meats. I didn’t care for it but I loved the trimmings of mint sauce and horseradish and when I realised I could still have those and…

A High Octane Sport

I managed to let the start of the Formula 1 season, in Australia a couple of weeks ago, pass without mention but with the second race in Bahrain now just a few days away, it is time to pitch in. For a long time, I have been a fan of F1 and have been two…

Let the Children Live

I spent much of Easter with Lucinda and the mighty Bertie and it has been great fun but it is good to be back writing. Bertie is now nearly 15 months old and I am still astonished at the rate at which young children grow and learn. In the last month, Bertie has learnt to…

A Short Break

I am going to take a short Easter break and will be back again on Tuesday and already I have many topics in mind. On a personal front, the highlight in April will be Ben and Hannah’s marriage in Cambridge. Meanwhile, I will be planning for my next trip to Kiev to be with Sasha.…

It’s Raining. It must be Easter

I envied the IT manager for a company I worked with in Dubai. He was an Indian Christian living in a Muslim country. He would take every holiday going from Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, though Easter and onto Ramadan. This up and coming weekend is Easter. A four-day holiday which, at least for…

Anti-Semitism in the UK

There was a day, long ago when with other families we were all walking one bank holiday in the countryside. The sun was shining, and the children were happy and running on the narrow rural roads. I think it was Louise who asked when we arrived at the pub for a rest if I had…

Hard but Fair

Last night, Annie and I had a long chat on the phone. I had been working all day and was only just home and she had had Lucinda and the mighty Bertie over for morning coffee. ‘What,’ she asked, ‘are you going to write about tomorrow?’ I wasn’t sure but ‘cheating, probably,’ I replied. I…

A Yellow Plastic Duck

I guess you have no interest in my bathing habits but, I am sorry, you are just going to have to read a little before you get to the meat in today's sandwich. I shower and never take a bath. It is a preference and nothing to do with saving water. I just prefer standing…

Oh dear, Mr Zuckerberg

The whole World is upset and even surprised at the revelations about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and the 2016 US presidential campaign. At last, angry of Tunbridge Wells has a real bone to chew on. The outrage is palpable and around the world lawmakers, regulators, and the moral majorities are sharpening their knives for revenge. But,…

The Day I Felt Like Death

I was in my mid-twenties, still an unqualified accountant, when I blagged my way on a three-month secondment to Malawi. The internal advert hadn’t been specific and only said that I had to be a ‘senior’ and nothing about being qualified. Three months away seemed like a good idea. My only concern was that it…

Damascus: Beauty and Beast

Within the last ten years, I have been to both Syria and Libya. Occasionally, I still look at the entry stamps in my passport and wonder how I have managed to travel so extensively without being stopped and questioned. The Libya trip was sponsored by a direct invitation from Saif Gaddafi the son of the…

Sport Relief 2018

This may be one of my shorter pieces but there will be few more important. Over the last few weeks, I have asked you to part with your money to help me and buy my books. For this week forget all that. There is a far more important way for you to spend your money.…

Col Jessop, I Can Handle the Truth

If you sense a tad of anger in today’s piece, then you are probably right. I was stood up with a very poor excuse. I was supposed to be meeting a friend in London for a mid-morning coffee and catch-up and early this morning it was cancelled. With my lifestyle, doing anything first thing in…

Leaders: They’re all the same

This is the start of a BBC News item yesterday. The UK will expel 23 Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Salisbury, the PM says. Theresa May said the diplomats, who have a week to leave, were identified as "undeclared intelligence officers". The…

And Here is the News

I have travelled a great deal and spent many a night alone in a distant, overseas hotel room. I switch on the TV and always end up watching BBC News 24 or CNN and it is probably the only time I really watch the News. I do listen to it on the radio when in…

When Technology Goes Wrong

Frequent readers will know that last week, because of International Women’s Day, Sasha and the rest of Ukraine was on holiday for a couple of days from Thursday. Then there was a weekend and, not that it is an issue for you, it meant that we were, in effect, out of contact for four days.…

The Seven Virtues #4 Kindness

I am always taken by surprise. What should be the easy subjects always become the most difficult to write, but kindness is such a bland concept there seems little to say. Doesn’t everyone aspire to be kind and isn't misanthropy such an unpleasant personal attribute? Yet when it came to sitting in front of the…

Too Politically Correct?

Have you ever felt you should be somewhere else but not sure where? I was like that yesterday. I was busy. I wrote, as always. I worked on a couple of business documents for a friend, I wrote a letter to Sasha and I even went to hire my dress suit for Ben and Hannah’s…

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. For those of us in the UK, it is a passing occasion politely noted but not recognised. In Eastern Europe, it is a day of great importance and today Sasha and everyone else in Ukraine has a day’s celebratory holiday. Other than her birthday this is probably the one day…

Inspirational Leaders – Tony Bury

I first met Tony just over 10 years ago when I was invited to his home in Dorset to review the strategy for his business in Dubai. It was at Tony’s invitation that I first went to Dubai, and then stayed, working for him. His career is stellar and varied and it is easier to…

The Seven Virtues #3: Chastity

Some days while I am struggling to write a piece I think about this self-imposed challenge. It is never easy, always time-consuming, mainly frustrating, often rewarding, but also thought-provoking. That is where the enjoyment comes in. Some days I arrive with preconceptions. I am arrogant enough to think I know all the answers, but nothing…

How to be Luckier

When it comes to the lottery and raffles Mum always says she is not lucky, but she always buys a ticket at the local village and horticultural shows, and the regular supply of sweet sherry and cuddly toys, prove she is wrong. I may not have all that I want right now, and I may…

The Seven Virtues#2: Abstinence

Humility, kindness, patience, or diligence, are characteristics I can admire. Chastity was never going to be a personally achievable objective. But abstinence and abstinence from food, what is that all about? Time to find out.  As gluttony is the sin so abstinence is its corresponding virtue. Abstinence is well founded in the Abrahamic faiths and…

The Antonov 225

Yesterday, Valentin Timoshenko, a LinkedIn friend, made my day. I doubt that was his intention when he posted but thank you. I had had a poor night’s sleep with a racking cough, the late rumblings of my weekend cold, and I woke feeling grumpy. I meandered working through the day and only by early evening…

Alexandra – Stories of Sensual Fantasies

It was just over three years ago that I met one of Sasha’s best friend, Alexandra. We got on well, just as I have with all of Sasha’s friends, but this has also turned into a professional relationship as she has provided the core content of the book, Alexandra, a collection of women’s erotic fantasies.…

The Seven Virtues #1: Liberality

The Gates Foundation, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates, launched in 2000, is said to be the largest private foundation in the US, holding $38 billion in assets, with the primary aims to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. In 2007, its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America and by…

Flu, Philomena, and Darwin Awards

I have not been well this weekend. I thought of it as full-blown flu, but really, of course, it is just a cold, or man-flu. I have been sniffling, coughing and my nose is blocked.  The cocktail of tablets I already take has been added to with regular 4-hour paracetamol. Even if the adage is…

The 3 Great Skills of Entrepreneurship

The last few weeks of writing has been intense. There have been pieces about the problems and issues in Ukraine, designer babies, paedophilia, and Belarusian dictators. It is time to lift some of the gloom and I thought we might have a quick canter through entrepreneurship meaning I have to expose some of my weaknesses.…

Why is Lukashenko tolerated?

There are some moments in sport that are so pivotal that they can’t be ignored. This is one. Read what the press has said: The Olympic champion of Sochi 2014 and a favourite of Pyeongchang 2018 came in nowhere because of biased refereeing. The final assessment from the judges was unreasonable. Each of them overestimated…

The Evil in our Midst

I haven't enjoyed writing this piece. The subject is important but distressing. It has also made me angry. There are two sides to every coin. Yesterday I was with young Bertie my grandson and I will be with him again today. He is a great bundle of joy who makes me smile and feel happy.…

The Right to Education

Economist always say that a highly educated workforce is a primary driver of economic success. For different reasons, every parent says that maximising the potential and opportunities of their children is their hope. Based on that you would expect building a great education system would be the highest priority of any government. If you got…

If Ever You Needed a Kick off the Couch

This piece is about two British, female athletes, Elise Christie, and Lizzy Yarnold. For very different reasons they are inspirational and especially inspirational for women. Let’s talk first about Christie. Elise Christie is a short track speed skater who represents Great Britain. If you don’t know anything about short track speed skating it is another…

Pyeongchang: It’s All in the Kit

The British have an enviable record in Olympic Velodrome cycling. Apart from tremendous, powerful, and super-human athletes, British cycling has worked, and then worked some more on what they have called marginal gains. Everything is reviewed and optimised: the bike’s aerodynamic shape; the materials it is built with to give maximum strength, minimum weight, bend…

For Every Sin There is a Virtue

February 14th. It’s a date that resonates all around the world. Valentine’s Day is universally recognised as the day for lovers to be together. It is a day for romance, tenderness, and love. It wasn’t always so. Romantic love and Valentine’s Day are not formed out of ancient history or pagan rites and only came…

Let’s Design a Baby

It was in 2012 when I first wrote about genetic engineering and designer babies and since then much has changed. Then. just 5 years ago, the modern science of gene manipulation was at a relatively early stage in its development. The pioneering work of genetic engineering alongside the world genome project, was only just coming…

A Visa to Visit

If you want a job done, then ask a busy man! It all feels a bit like that today. Away in Kiev, there was always something to do, we were always busy and yet still I found time to write. The quality may have dropped just a little with all the pressure, but everything got…