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Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace

It does not take long to see what matters most in our society: the bottom line is the proverbial dollar. Watch the news for more than a few minutes and you’ll discover it’s the economics that drives political decisions. Does it have to be this way? Justin Welby – one time oil man for a leading…

Night Trains by Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin’s Night Trains is a compelling piece of travel writing. Part documentary account of his own travels and – perhaps inevitably given its subject – part social history, this is not mere trainspotter fodder. All over Europe, sleeper trains are rapidly vanishing. While rail travel is often booming, cheap budget airline fares and (ironically) high-speed…

Re-Reading Waterland

I first read Graham Swift’s Waterland as a university fresher. Twenty-five years later, I’ve recently re-read the novel as I prepare to teach it to a group of A level students. Reading the novel afresh has been an interesting exercise in how we read and how our understandings can shift or remain constant.  As a…

Not only a ‘Shepherd’s Life’

We spend a lower percentage of our incomes on food than ever but what we eat dominates the media, whether it be this year’s winner of The Great British Bake Off,  Tesco’s latest marketing rip off or the travesty of food wastage. Campaigning chefs such as Jamie Oliver have done much to raise our awareness…