Miracles, Moneymaking and the Moth: My pilgrimage to Lourdes

This is an essay I had published on the Humanistlife website. I retain the rights to it so here it is:

Fifteen years ago, during a cold May evening, in the basilica of St Pius X under the pilgrimage town of Lourdes, a moth flew up to the only source of warmth in a radius of twenty metres – a lone one-bar wall heater – and killed itself flying into the red-hot element.

Roger Moore

I was delighted to meet Roger Moore last night at Network’s event to mark the 40th anniversary of The Persuaders! and its release on DVD and Blu-ray.

For such a huge star, Roger Moore is a wonderfully warm, charming and self-deprecating man. He asked everybody their name, shook hands and posed for photographs. Interviewed by Barry Norman, he claimed the secret of his success is that he’s been very lucky.

He’s an inspirational figure, and a valid lesson to the prima donnas in the entertainment industry who refuse to talk about their early successes. He’s also impeccably well-mannered and charming. It was a real honour to meet him.

Lazy Afternoon Doze – Saffy On My Bed

Lazy Afternoon Doze - Saffy On My Bed

Lazy Afternoon Doze - Saffy On My Bed

Oil on canvas, painted summer 2010. The fastest I have ever produced a painting, completing it within 24 hours over two sittings. I’ve gone for light effect rather than reality. It was an attempt to capture Saffy having a mid-afternoon doze on my bed, warming herself to the sunshine coming through the window. It is on the wall of my parents’ house in my old bedroom.

Would anybody like to produce/direct a play that I have written?

Would anybody like to produce/direct a play that I have written? I don’t really want to produce or direct it myself, as I feel too close to the work and I think it would benefit from somebody else’s interpretation to take it further. I’d also relish the chance to work with an enthusiastic and capable producer/director capable of working miracles (of the Humean kind) on a miniscule budget.

In brief, the play is:
A contemporary melodrama
For five actors: 2 males 28-35 and one 50-65, plus two females, one 28-35 and one 50-65
One setting only: the living room and downstairs bedroom of a contemporary house
Approximately 100 minutes in duration
Minimal props

Saturday 3rd September 2011

I’ve learned this week that patience is not my strong suit. As Christopher Hitchens has pointed out, patience is an over-rated virtue anyway. This was brought home to me yesterday when I had to wait in for two deliveries, neither of which had arrived by 4pm. By then, the sheer exhausting act of listening out for the door and the cabin fever was akin to Chinese water torture. Coupled with not feeling well, wrapped in a blanket and desperate for some sleep, I was, to put it mildly, grumpy by the end of the day.

My Dissertation

Anyone interested in Roman History may like this. It’s a rough draft of my final dissertation.

How successful was the governor Agricola in securing Northern Britain as a Roman province?


The most important and detailed source we have on Agricola’s career is the biography of him, The Agricola, written by his son-in-law, Tacitus, several years after Agricola’s death. It is therefore problematic to use written sources alone to ascertain how successful or otherwise Agricola had been in his post as governor of Britain; since any account written by a close relative is bound to be biased in his favour. Especially if, like Tactitus in this case, the historian follows the standard pattern of latin biographies and praises his subject arguably beyond his worth.