When the Stranger says: “What is the meaning of this city? Do you huddle close together because you love each other?” What will you answer? “We all dwell together To make money from each other”? or “This is a community”? T. S. ELIOT, The Rock It’s all too easy when you’re living in London to discover that you’ve been scurrying back and forth along your personal ant trail for a while without ever diverting your journey or even just stopping to look up. Perhaps you’ve been working too many hours, perhaps you feel like you’ve constantly been caught up in…

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I like to think I’m open minded about different cultures, but if I’m really honest with myself there are some countries I feel like I just… connect with on a deeper level. The one factor they have in common isn’t spiritual or political or profound in any way – the answer lies in a simple appreciation for cake. An easy test is as follows: does a place have an abundance of shops selling mainly freshly baked cakes, or cafes where glorious cake eating is the main event, the reason d’etre, along with which one may also order an accompanying hot…

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Christmas in my family has been the same for years – there are only two places it can occur and it’s always the same ten or eleven people in the attendance. The years have slipped by though and now it’s the children rather the parents who are the ones with the responsibilities and complicated work schedules that celebrations need to be organised around. By pure coincidence, four of the family’s junior doctors are now working up in the north east, and by some miracle, they all had Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, so we decided to shift Christmas up…

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