Lurking under the subheading ‘Oedipus – Schmoedipus!’ was a request from a man who described himself as ‘academic (60), Jewish, genial’, who was looking for ‘a slim older woman with whom to spend agreeable times’. Photograph: Thinkstock

I was reading the latest issue of the London Review of Books, a watery sun illuminating the erudite paragraphs. Beyond the gracious windows, the se(...)

Double date: Jason is excited that Valentine’s Day follows Friday the 13th 8:46

Let’s face it: if you are a grudgingly single, lovesick triskaidekaphobic, this is probably not going to be a red-letter weekend for you, eh? If yo(...)

Wear a mask: A worker at a flower plantation in Ecuador prepares for Valentine’s Day. Photograph: Guillermo Granja/Reuters

Thank goodness January has bitten the frozen dust. It’s time to get all chirpy and energised now, to rush around cleaning the mocking windows and w(...)

The Count: doesn’t know how lucky he is

‘Could I have some worm pills?” I asked the veterinary assistant. Momentarily, she desisted from creating a pyramidical display of pussycat des(...)

January:  an odd month. Like a lousy host, she invites you to party, but when you arrive, the lights are out and she’s gone to bed

Man alive, this year hasn’t exactly tumbled out of a bed of optimism and spun around the room in a flurry of bonhomie, has it? It’s not struggling int(...)

The goldfish won’t forget this in a hurry. Photograph: Thinkstock

I suppose it’s a seasonal thing: this need for reappraisal, this new-broom feeling that pops up with the lost turkey thermometer (a bit late now, m(...)

‘In the words of Lou Reed, I’m beginning to see the light.’ Photograph: Miguel Vidal/Reuters

WISDOM WEEK In the words of Lou Reed, “I’m beginning to see the light, a little wine for my breakfast, a little breakfast at night”. The e(...)

Number one in the disappointment chart was ‘not seeing enough of the world’. Having come of age in an era when long haul meant dragging the coal bag around the back, I too feel the pain. But is it ever too late to say ‘one-way ticket, please’?

Happy new year, comrades. I trust you survived the festive season without choking on a turkey bone or gagging on a mouthful of bitter regret for ha(...)

‘Christmas: love it or loathe it, we pretty much know that if we have the wherewithal, it’s incumbent on us to step up to the mark and get on with it at the first tinkle of Jingle Bells.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

So, it’s happening. Christmas is about to crash down, like a sad drunk into a decorative bay tree. If we’re lucky and fate has left us off the (...)

‘Just when you’ve pulled yourself out of the mire, they’ll knock you back in again with a simpering, nauseating, molasses-soaked blast of White Christmas’

Ding dong merrily on high: it’s December already. Time to defrost the frosting, soak your prunes in anorak, I mean Armagnac, roast your petrified n(...)