Notebook

  • Ghost in the machine

    Ghost in the machine

    I almost forgot to look away as the doctor drew my blood. Then she checked my heart. “It’s quite fast,” she said. “But that’s probably because of your journey here, based on what you’ve told me. You took the Tube?” The NHS GP on my street had a two-week waiting list — to speak over […]

  • Throwing the book

    Throwing the book

    I started this blog to support my efforts to get writing. It was a week before England’s second lockdown began. Like a lot of people, I believed I had a book in me. And I thought the pandemic would provide the room to write it. I’ve done a lot of things during the pandemic. I […]

  • Failures of the Euro 2020 final

    Failures of the Euro 2020 final

    I’ve been going to football matches for 20 years. The Euro 2020 final, played at Wembley between England and Italy, was the first time I’d feared for my safety – and that of others – at a match. So I was consoled by Baroness Casey’s review of the events that day in July. She noted […]

  • Shortchanged

    Shortchanged

    I wonder if, years from now, we’ll look back at this time and marvel at how strange it was – the masks and the social distancing, the working from home, the going on furlough or losing your job, the fear of the outside, of what could happen, because nothing like this had ever happened. The […]

  • On the road again

    On the road again

    Becoming emotionally attached to a football club is a risky game. They can let you down. They can be mismanaged. They can fail. Bolton Wanderers, the football club I’ve supported all my life, nearly failed in 2019. Employees were forced to use food banks because they weren’t paid. The business fell into administration and the […]

  • Card connection

    Card connection

    My latest lockdown obsession is Pokémon cards. I’ve become a collector again, 20 years since I begged my mum for packets of the original set. I’ve bought 30 packs from a modern set called Champion’s Path and I plan to open them at Christmas. Each pristine card will be laid on to a soft mat […]

  • Take a deep breath

    Every November I realise I’ve been holding my breath for days, sometimes weeks. The world feels heavier, my brain foggier. It’s a product of the days getting shorter. I see less light, I don’t go outside as much, and work begins and ends in darkness. I’ve got better at noticing the changes in my mood […]

  • Walk of life

    Walk of life

    A few months after moving into our house in north London, I stumbled upon the Dollis Valley Greenwalk. It was a rainy Monday. I don’t mind the rain, I welcome it. It makes for a quieter walk, and when I do cross paths with other walkers they tend to be alone like me. Recently I […]