Last week we drove out along the North Fork of Long Island, just to see if it was still there. You can never be sure that any landscape survives long here, given the pace of development, so it’s best to check at regular intervals.
The trendy word of the year so far seems to be "selfie," which I understand to mean simply a photographic self-portrait. Why this idea should suddenly be so much in vogue is hard to explain. Cameras were equipped with time-delay shutters for taking self-portraits as early as the 1850s, and I was certainly using one in the 1950s. However a fashion is a fashion, and we must do our best to understand it.
Dieting is the curse of the modern age. Having freed ourselves from religious puritanism, we've fallen prey to the far worse medical kind. No sooner have the first crocuses emerged from the frozen earth than the media announce that dieting season has arrived.
Fifty years ago, almost to the day, I had the good fortune to become a bookseller. Like most of the interesting things in my life this happened by accident. A small bookstore in North London, previously operated by the Communist Party, had become vacant and, with no more than the briefest previous experience I was brave or foolhardy enough to take it over and transform it into something more reader friendly.