Robert louis stevenson

When the bone pain gets bad, my inner NCO keeps me in check

In Frederic Manning’s classic Great War novel, The Middle Parts of Fortune, the shattered battalion shambles out of the line after battle to parade briefly before being dismissed. Noting a general loss of soldierly comportment as the infantrymen limp into camp, a watching NCO urges: ‘Come on, get hold of it now.’ As my bone pain worsens, passing milestone after milestone with dismaying rapidity, Manning’s anonymous fictional NCO speaks that expressive army phrase into my mind. He gives the order sternly, with unmistakeable undertones of regimental pride and kindliness. Milestones passed so far: single site intermittent bone pain easily tolerated; single site continuous pain, easily managed by half a gram

Children’s books provide the perfect escape from coronovirus

The lockdown we have been enduring has at times felt drawn from the pages of a children’s book. The eerie quiet of the deserted public square has had something of the earliest fairy tale about it, as if we were all slumbering in Sleeping Beauty’s castle. At the same time, the apocalyptic media landscape of death graphs will have been familiar to fans of the latest young adult dystopias. Either way, for the healthy at home the action is still happening elsewhere, so this might be a good time for confident younger readers to tackle those enduring classics which have seen more than one generation through a crisis. Kidnapped by