No life

The reality of food banks

The old man next door asked me to collect his parcel from the food bank. ‘Sure,’ I said. I joined a queue of 20 starvelings outside a chapel in the East End. Most were migrants carrying rucksacks or bags for life, and there were a few Cockney mums with fidgety nippers in tow. Everyone in

A beginner’s guide to getting a massage

 The agony could strike at any moment. Daggering pains in my lower back demanded correction. Not just painkillers, I needed a permanent cure. ‘Thai massage’ suggested the internet, so I hobbled across a tangle of east London streets and found a doorway beneath a pink neon sign. A receptionist of south Asian appearance, bundled in

The new status symbol of the super rich: headlice

To help out friends, I sometimes collect a boy from his primary school near Sloane Square. This part of London boasts the most expensive homes in Britain and the local families are served by a crop of ultra-pricey schools. The best known, Hill House, was founded in the 1940s by an eccentric army officer, ‘the