In which I went on a wine tour

Our table at Avignonesi in Montepulciano.
Our table at Avignonesi in Montepulciano. Click to read the piece on Alderman Lushington.

Today in Bristol it’s raining heavily, it’s cool but not cold enough to be satisfying, the leaves are rotting on the pavement, and I’m thinking about drinking good wine with old friends on a hot summer’s day.

Click here to read the not-very-serious spread I published in Alderman Lushington on going on a wine tour in Tuscany.

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco

umberto-eco-numero-zeroNumero Zero, by Umberto Eco. My review for Shiny New Books.

For a short novel, Numero Zero is amazingly leisurely and discursive. It’s like an Arabian Nights for conspiracy theorists, historians of the late 20th century and political sceptics, with stories within stories, asides, facts, speculation, satire and nods to the past and future. If that sounds like a bit of a mess and possibly hard going, in fact it’s jolly and generally entertaining, if slightly uneven.

Read the full review at Shiny New Books


“The point is, everything we heard was false or distorted … we’ve been living a lie. I’ve always said: never believe what they tell you …”

“And your story ends there…”

“Eh, no, this is the beginning of another one, and perhaps I only became interested through what happened next…”

The sweetness of life and the bitter herbs of death: Campari

bittercampariI first tried Campari with soda. We were sitting outside a restaurant, looking at the menu and thinking about lunch. For a moment the taste was fresh, clean, easily enjoyable; then came the choking bitterness. I drank again, just to make sure. Yes, it really was partially decocted from the bitter herbs of death. So I took the remainder down in one, like medicine. I never thought I’d return to it. Continue reading