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The Cafe Idler

Gotcha! Triumphalism in The Sunday Times

Gotcha! Triumphalism in The Sunday Times

What lovely people they must be at The Sunday Times, gleefully proclaiming a 'victory' for motorists after recent research showed that the numbers of cyclists on the roads was falling sharply - the declining numbers said to be due in no small part to the fact that an...

Spring Forward, Fall Back

Spring Forward, Fall Back

  Long ago when I was growing up in New Hampshire I used to love winter, all that deep snow and astonishing sub-zero cold and tromping through the woods on my snowshoes - right up until about March, when suddenly I would tire of the whole thing and be eager for a...

Harrumph – With a Vengeance

Harrumph – With a Vengeance

    In a continuation of the Wodehouse-worthy tale reported upon last week, it appears that the redoubtable Lord Winston is not a man to let things drop, even when they don't appear to be going his way. Having raised himself into high dudgeon over the matter of all...

Daydream on a String

Daydream on a String

  Over the past week or so there has been a exhilarating balminess in the air, not so much in the mornings when I go out on my bicycle, but later on, in the afternoons, when the sun is shining broadly, the flowerbeds are bright with daffodils and crocus, the magnolias...

When I am Old…

When I am Old…

A fashion editor in The Observer offers some robust advice to his fellow men in the fifty-to-death age bracket about what they should no longer wear.

Harrumph

Harrumph

I read the other morning, over my bacon and eggs, that Lord Winston feels it is high time something is done about all the “hoodlums in Lycra” that are gadding about London’s streets these days causing His Lordship no end of anxiousness when he crosses the street in front of the House of Parliament. In this, apparently, he found ready agreement from his fellow peer, Lord Sharkey who described the crossing of the street in front of Parliament House ‘an accident waiting to happen’ especially during the rush hour and all because of cyclists.  One could be forgiven for thinking this rather quaint-sounding exchange came from an archived story from The Times, circa 1896, or perhaps something from the pages of P.G. Wodehouse, but no, it was from the BBC’s news website, reporting on a discussion in the House of Lords this week. I have often wondered where the Wodehousian world had crawled off to die, and now I know: it hasn’t.

The Wheels of Chance

The Wheels of Chance

  It was a tram driver’s strike in Melbourne back in the early Nineties that got me riding a bicycle again as an adult. I was living in Elsternwick that year, one of those old bayside neighbourhoods in the city's inner south. I didn’t own a car but relied instead...

The Directors Cut

The Directors Cut

Last night I sat down with a bowl of popcorn to watch the special edition the so-called director’s cut, of an old favourite film. I wish I hadn’t. Why do they do it? Spoil a classic by throwing in stuff that was rightly left on the cutting room floor the first time around?