Saturday 16 May 2020


'I think Britain is a much, much better place than when I first came here [in 1973]. It’s more cosmopolitan and worldly, and I love that. So I was disappointed they voted to leave, but on the other hand… I keep reading these opinion pieces saying Britain shot itself in the head and I think, actually, no. Britain handled Brexit really, really well given that it was such a 50-50 thing. Where are the gilets jaunes? We can disagree ferociously but we are not going to start punching each other. Considering how finely divided the country was, I think it has been pretty civilised. It’s got a little fractious at times but… Look at the Basque separatists. Here, there weren’t any violent protests, we didn’t have to get tear gas out or rubber bullets or anything. Every-body was pretty good about it.'
Bill Bryson talking to Leaf Arbuthnot in the Spectator

Coleridge said 'the theologians tell us that souls have no sex, but I wonder. I very much wonder.'


  1. Vox populi, vox humbug.

    W. T. Sherman
    Letter to his wife (2 June 1863)

  2. The first Whig was the Devil.

    Samuel Johnson

  3. My life has been the result of accidents, not of goals and principles. My intellectual work forms only an insignificant part of it. Love and personal understanding are much more important. Leading intellectuals with their zeal for objectivity kill these personal elements. They are criminals, not the leaders of mankind.

    Paul Karl Feyerabend

  4. Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.

    Eric Hoffer

  5. ʻA book is a mirror; if an ape looks into it, an apostle is hardly likely to look out.’ 
    G. C. Lichtenberg

    Other People’s Thoughts: Idiosyncratically Compiled by Simon Leys for the Amusement of Idle Readers
    Simon Leys