With reference to Peter Batten’s reminiscence about ‘Stephane’ (Oct/Nov 2017), I, too, want to tell a little story about Stephane Grappelli.

In 1979 I was on tour with a play, the leading lady of which was the amazing, vivacious, beautiful actress, Ingrid Pitt, (pictured) doyenne of Hammer Horror movies (and she had a great part in the film ‘Where Eagles Dare’). Ingrid and I met for Sunday lunch and then popped into the Theatre Royal, Lincoln, where we were playing, to retrieve something she had left in the dressing room. Continue Reading »


A Christmas Carol

On 9th November 1861, Charles Dickens went to the Royal Pavilion to give a public reading in the magnificent setting of the palace’s Music Room. The Brighton Gazette reported that he sent “a charge of emotion through the whole audience.” Continue Reading »


With thanks to Robert Sells for sending us his poem. He says it’s the story of his life. . .

Self Delusion

In his search for the perfect woman much energy he burned,

And many a maid who failed the grade  by him was judged and spurned, Continue Reading »

With the exception of the small (and much expected) rise in UK interest rates, almost nothing has changed since my last article, and that was written as a result of there not being a great deal to talk about! In the last two months since that article, there have been the usual spats between the President of the United States and Kim Jong Un. The Brexit negotiations are still grinding on, with little or no visible progress, and no signs of any joined-up thinking on the matter. Continue Reading »

West Hill Watch

Jim Gowan’s West Hill Watch

Giant Sign Proposed in Surrey Street

An advertising sign covering almost 27 square meters of a wall facing Brighton Station, a grade two star building, has also been recommended for refusal by the Conservation Advisory Group (CAG). The application has been made by the Ethical Property Company, which admits to having neither sought advice from the local council nor to have consulted neighbours or the local community. The green and white steel and aluminium lettering would also be harmful to the attractive north façade of the Queen’s Head public house, which is on the local list of heritage assets. Continue Reading »

St Michael’s church has been running a café in the Community Hall on Saturday mornings from 8.30 to 10.30am for almost thirty years. It started as an outreach for people in the local community and to provide cooked breakfasts for those in need such as the homeless. We give vouchers out to First Base, the Clock Tower Sanctuary and Antifreeze so that homeless people can get a good, free hot meal. Continue Reading »


I don’t know how it got there, but two weeks ago I found a bottle of port at the back of my drinks cupboard. It was labelled Cockburn’s Vintage Port 1983. I took it round to share with friends. It was a job to open. The cork was sealed with wax that I had to prise off with a knife; the cork broke as I pulled and the bottom end (port corks are longer than those of any other wine) went into the bottle. But filtering it through some kitchen paper into a decanter revealed the port to be a rich brown colour. It filled the kitchen with its smell. It tasted divine – old leathery fruit of incredible power. We drank it with the cheese, we drank it with the desert, we finished it off after the coffee. Continue Reading »