Love Songs: A (sort of) poem

(This is plagiarism, but in the modern student fashion, from multiple sources. I composed it when I was asked to say something at the wedding of my youngest son to Elizabeth Cornwell in December 2012. It has assumed a kind of mythic status given that Liz gave birth to Isabella nine months to the day […]

So how did London become so good?

       In the five years I spent in Oxford in the 1960s I spent a good deal of time in London which was a 22 shilling return rail fare away. (The price must have varied, but that’s the one I remember.) This was supposed to be “swinging London” and there were some good moments: walking […]

The Irish Free Variable

       In 1967, having finished my final exams, I set off for an unashamed drinking expedition to Ireland with two friends in a VW Beetle. Reaching Dingle on the far side of the country and ordering a pint in my English accent I was informed by the man on the end of the bar that […]

Heaven and Hell in Campania

       Sitting at the back of the stand, watching the Coppa Davis, the view is roughly the same as that which can be seen on the paintings in all the restaurants of the city. Beyond the red “clay” and the main body of Italian fans is Vesuvius. To the right of the volcano are the […]

Castles in Spain

       As Gibbon might have said: I breakfasted in the Alhambra, among the ruins of Moorish palaces and reflected . . . . But whereas Gibbon, you will recall, reflected in similar circumstances upon the decline of the Roman Empire, I was reflecting, more selfishly and immediately, on the deal. The price of our room […]

There’s a Deathless Myth on the Close Tonight: Re-assessing Rugby’s Place in the History of Sport

By Lincoln Allison and Rusty MacLean* (This article was shortlisted for the 2013 Routledge Prize.) ABSTRACT Rugby School has traditionally been credited with an important place in the development of modern organised games. The most famous names in this attribution have been William Webb Ellis, the pupil who “invented” rugby football, and Dr. Thomas Arnold, […]

In Which an Ancient Wish is Granted (and Analysed)

       Thursday, September first 2011, the county cricket ground at Worcester: a splendid late summer day, the cathedral reassuringly distinguished across the river, the ground pleasantly filled by a couple of thousand people. This is the England which ex-Prime Ministers make speeches about. Many people say it is the most beautiful cricket ground in the […]

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