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The cowpat and the cat

Max Hastings, author of ‘All you need to know… World War 2: A brilliant account of the most terrible event in human history’, describes the awful plight of the Poles who were invaded at the start of the war by the Germans, only to be rescued at the end of the war by the Russians….

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The retrograde life

What a colorful collection of cosmic cousins surround the planet Neptune. Fourteen of them, and all with their own shapes and sizes, and all in orbit around our solar system’s eighth planet. And yet one of them stands out from the others. Triton. The other thirteen move in the same direction as Neptune’s rotation, but…

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Y

So close, and yet so far! American crime-fiction writer Sue Grafton very nearly made it. Many years ago she embarked on an ambitious project, the alphabet series, which began with ‘A is for Alibi’, then ‘B is for Burglar’, and ‘C is for Corpse’. And so she continued with ‘D is for Deadbeat’ all the…

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Internal Combustion

“Are your ears burning?” What a funny expression to describe the phenomenon that is felt by someone when another person is speaking about them, at a distance, with either flattery or criticism. Whether the experience is merely fictional or truly physiological, who knows? Some have wondered if it’s due to blushing in the overhearing of…

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Mr Invisible

How does one describe the invisible? Many artists have drained their creative juices in an attempt to paint the wind. Many scientists have devised clever experiments in their effort to describe light in its ultra and infra forms. Many lovers have poured their imaginations into proving the existence of things like affection and passion and…

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The best demister

I fought frantically with the windscreen on the way to church last Sunday morning. It had iced over and the wiper blades were skidding across it. I squirted some soapy water from the washer-jet, and drove toward the sun in search of some heat. But then the inside of the windscreen started to fog, and…

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Faded receipts

Our church recently bought a new TV for the ministry centre, and the lady who handled the transaction, gave the original receipt to the treasurer, and a printed copy to me. And then, because I think she suspects there’s a weakness in my filing system, promptly sent me a digital copy. Many shops of course…

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Brave young men

Wow! That Horatio Hornblower is one brave and dashing hero. I’ve just finished the first of eleven books that my son is reading about this naval chap who sails from one adventure to the next. Is there anything that Horatio cannot do? Steer fire-ships away from an anchored fleet? Easy! Capture a Spanish galley with…

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Me, Myself and I

I was watching Carol King in concert yesterday – her 2016 ‘Live at Hyde Park’ concert. She was 74 at the time of the performance, and didn’t miss a beat, and held spellbound the zillion people who were in the audience. But during the concert, a few extraordinary things happened. She sang with her ‘20…

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A real man after all

I must be losing it. I was standing on the train the other day, and a lady asked me if I wanted to sit down. And she looked older than I was! It reminded me of a time in my twenties when I bought some weights at a sport’s shop, and the female attendant asked…

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