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Autograph of the Week

The Nature of Friendship

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A year ago, things changed. When much of the world went into lockdown, relationships altered. Some became more important, other ties were loosened. Friendship came to the fore, but some who had been friends before the pandemic faded into the background if they failed to stay in touch. Friendship relies on reciprocal overtures. But suddenly - and this has been...

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Support your local independent bookshop - here's a reading list

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As the Covid-19 situation drags on, businesses are struggling. On the high street shop after shop is closing. The latest lockdown will probably see more closures, but... One bright spot is a local independent bookshop, The Open Book, and I am doing my bit to keep them in business. Then again, as the theatres are all shut, I have rather more...

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Keeping in touch

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We’re well into the Covid-19 lockdown here in Richmond and although most people are reasonable and well behaved, there is absolutely no doubt that they are thinking longingly of all those restaurants, cafes and pubs now closed. You can’t friends over for tea or dinner either, though some enterprising friends have organized virtual get-togethers.  It’s not quite the same, but...

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The Question of Trade

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Trade is top of the headlines these days in the U.K.  It has always been a priority here. Britain, more than most other countries - the United States may be the closest - has always been concerned about trade throughout its history.  What can history teach us about the subject? Quite a lot, one would hope, although I sometimes fear that...

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A helping hand

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It is very obvious that there are more and more people today who need a helping hand. Whether you look close to home, at the elderly lady next door who can't quite manage to carry her shopping, or the growing number of homeless people in major cities all over the world, or the mother desperately juggling a part-time job, looking...

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Easter 1916

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This year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising. In many ways, the dust has barely settled on this event. For many, it was the Queen's visit to Ireland in 2011 that marked the most significant emotional turning point in the relationship between the two countries. But go back to 1926, a mere ten years after the Rising, and you...

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Who would you like to see around today?

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There is supposed to be a Chinese curse which says "May you live in interesting times".  There is no denying that these are interesting times. In fact, you might think that the world has gone mad, everything is in chaos, and where will it all end? This is not the first time people have felt this way. The 1640s saw a...

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Snooper's Charter? How they did it in 1805...

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There's been a lot of talk in the media about government "snooping" into private lives, from the revelations of Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, to the current debate raging in Parliament about the "snooper's charter". Is this all new?  The internet and social media may have added another dimension to this, but from a historical perspective, it was ever thus. If...

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