Russian For Beginners


First, and only, visit to the Proms this week; the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra playing under the baton of spritely, septuagenarian Yuri Temirkanov a programme of sophisticated Russian music. Or as I subsequently found, a programme described by the condescending BBC as “classical for starters”. Continue reading Russian For Beginners

A Spy in the Family

In the 1980s I was introduced to Patrick O’Brian’s novels about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin (it’s curious that the series does not have a title). Like so many others, I became hooked on the detailed descriptions of life on board a Royal Navy ship in the early years of the 19th century. The depth and range of Patrick O’Brian’s research is impressive and many of the novels draw on real events and real people. My favourite character is Stephen Maturin not least because, like him, I have a mixture of Irish and Spanish blood but it did not occur to me that he could be based on a real person until the evidence was, literally, put in front of me. Continue reading A Spy in the Family

What Does It Cost To Have Your Money Managed?

A friend of mine used to make a speech to new joiners at a prestigious management consultancy where he worked. He got their attention by saying that they were, he assumed, joining the firm for one reason only; to make money.  He went on to tell them that there are three ways to make money; to inherit it, to marry into it or to work hard at McKinsey. He knew, he had done them all. Continue reading What Does It Cost To Have Your Money Managed?