Red Sauce or Brown Sauce

Start the day in Brixton at the Starbucks next to the tube station. The coffee’s ok but the sausage buttie is as dismal as expected. It’s quite a while since I’ve tried one of these but after the first bite I immediately recall just how bland they are. The woman behind the counter who takes … Continued

The Elusive Nigella Seeds

Another late start and another Pret a Manger, this time the one in Waterloo Place. It’s around lunchtime so I go for the chicken and avocado sandwich which is ok but there’s not much bird meat and an awful lot of green stuff to munch through. My taste buds are a little jaded (which, in … Continued

Carving the Banana

Get out the tube at Lancaster Gate, just opposite the Royal Lancaster Hotel, a place that, whenever I see it, always makes me feel slightly uncomfortable as it inevitably brings back memories of when I first moved to London in the mid ‘70s and got a job with the Post Office in telephone accounts. By … Continued

Potatoes Dauphinoise

Take the short walk from Charing Cross tube station to the National Portrait Gallery for Pure Essence, an exhibition focusing on the portraits – sculptures, paintings and drawings – of Alberto Giacometti. The full price entry is £17, which is a bit steep, but with my National Art Fund card I get in for £6.75, … Continued


Get up a bit late today. Well, it is the weekend. But now it’s too late to get a sausage and bacon roll from the West Cornwall Pasty shop on Marylebone station. Then I discover that my fallback position, the Eat shop on Baker Street is shut due to ‘technical reasons’. Further on down Baker … Continued

Lady Macbeth and her Twin Sister

After my excursion up north, it’s back to London and the Lisson Gallery, just round the corner from Edgware Road tube station. I once spent a week painting the walls of this place in preparation for a Sol LeWitt show of drawings and sculptures. Such was the Minimalist nature of the works, especially the drawings, … Continued

When Tony Wilson was Just a Chirpy Newsreader

Pick up a Guardian and go to Starbucks for a coffee and a bacon buttie that doesn’t really taste of anything. Throw away most of the paper – the sections on sport, travel, cooking, families, the TV guide and all the advertising junk – and speed read what’s left, catching up on all the grim … Continued

Wirral Watercress

A new morning dawns in Manchester and there’s a brief dry intermission, so I walk back to Piccadilly station, grab a sausage and bacon roll and get the train to Liverpool. The ticket is only £8 return, which is not bad, but the 33-mile journey takes a staggering 54 minutes. So we’ll be travelling at … Continued

Manchester University Wallfower Club

It’s time to leave London again, so it’s off to Euston and then get the train north for the triennial get-together of the Manchester University Wallflower Club. I’ve decided to withdraw from some of the communal events: the snooker tournament at Rileys in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy; the, see who can eat the most food contest at the … Continued

The Famous Totem Pole

If you spend a lot of time travelling round London by tube, and especially if, like me, you’ve never driven a car or ridden a bike, then your mental map of the capital will probably be a bit distorted. Instead of being composed of an intricate spider’s web of landmarks and interlinking roads, it’s liable … Continued