Maybe its the Lure of the (Scandinavian) Sea

I spend my weeks traveling to and from various Nordic countries. Tired of the procession of planes and nights in formulaic hotels, I decided, for once, to take the big slow boat from Oslo to Copenhagen, only to discover that this was an amorphous mixture of the two. Everyone who boards is staying in the…

Another Unending Oslo Evening

A place and a time where there is no darkness only the all-consuming grey of a damp June evening Never starting, never ending, barely existing in very slow motion without definition or purpose. A dinner where the salmon is tasteless garnished with a disappointingly limp salad – Eating under artificial heating. Will that invisible sun…

Once a Father, always a Father

“Once a father, always a father”. I read that in a book. Well, actually I read “once a mother, always a mother”, but I am translating it in the interests of gender-equality. If women can assert their equality in the work-place, then men should be allowed to assert their equality in the parent-place. In fact,…

To Russia – with memories.

And so, I was about to finally step into Russia. As a kid, of course, it was all part of the USSR. We lived as children in genuine fear of the Cold War between the Soviets and the Americans escalating into Mutually Assured Destruction, wondering what we would do if the apocryphal 4-minute warning sounded…

Three men in St Petersburg

I had three people to find in St Petersburg – Fyodor, Dmitri and Claude. All six-letter names, all artists and all well past their sell by dates. Well, all longtime dead as it happens. So. I would be looking for their faint footprints rather than their living feet. A painter, an author and a composer.…

on a slow boat to St. Petersburg

Today I took a day off from my business trip to Helsinki to embark on an a cheeky visit to St Petersburg – the so-called “Venice” of Russia. A few reasons for this self-indulgence. 1) St Petersburg is, by all accounts, a beautiful and historic city, unblemished by two world wars, with an impressive array…

Spending My Precious Vote

We have all been given a vote which we can use today. Everyone has one, single vote – irrespective of age, income, height, wisdom, IQ or dress-sense. Nobody has a casting vote, a special vote, the power of veto. Every vote is absolutely identical. We cannot buy more votes, nor can we give our vote…

Putting Insomnia to Bed

I am writing this at 4.49am, having been awake since 3.11am following about 3 hours of sleep. You may think this disqualifies me from having any wisdom about dealing with insomnia. But this has been an exception – and I blame it entirely on the course of steroids I have just started. The last ten…