Faith Spear: The Prison Monitor Who Spoke Out

I recently wrote a piece about a former prison monitor who had raised concerns about the state of prison monitoring. As a result of her concerns – voiced anonymously – she was urged to step down as a chairman of the monitoring board she chaired. And when she then spoke to a newspaper about this, […]

Morris group

What does the future hold for Morris dancing?

On Wednesday night I had the great honour of joining Chelmsford Morris (the men’s group) to find out what off-season folk dancing looked like. The blinding white suits and buckled waistcoats were nowhere to be seen. Instead, a friendly gaggle of men in jeans and polo shirts were there to greet me. My reason for […]

Bird control

Working out the public costs of bird control

A few months back I was leaving an inquest and noticed some guys putting up netting around a council building. They told me it was to stop pigeons roosting on the top and defecating downwards onto people like me. “But once you’ve done this job,” I asked, “won’t the pigeons just move over there?” “Yes,” […]


The family which ate dinner off the rear end of a plane

I met three people this week who reminded me why I love Britain so very, very much. At its best, this country is a hugely inventive, unabashed, humorous, passionate and pioneering place. A perfect example of this wondrous mix flew into Southend Airport earlier this week. I, and a very nice airport lady called Angela, […]