Who wouldn’t want a nice new shelf in the utility room? Or a glass protector for the mantelpiece? And a new vacuum cleaner is something everyone can enjoy. Photograph: Getty Images

Would giving a teenager a couple of outdoor plant pots for Christmas be stretching it? How about a new ironing board? I have a list as long as my arm (...)

“When the Headmaster said he was getting a better Teacher, I didn’t think she would be this qualified”

In 1986, when I was at secondary school, the picture above was how the Student Yearbook & Career Directory chose to illustrate its advice that som(...)

Romelo Lukaku of Manchester United stretches with teammates during training  in Los Angeles. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

Down the road from Declan Varley’s office in Galway, Ireland, is a statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire, a prolific Irish essayist and author. He is regarded a(...)

“Modern” is a funny word in Ireland. In other countries, modern implies a straight line of development, from rural to urban, from agricultural to ind(...)