Jenny Coad

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station once generated nearly a fifth of London’s power. It must have hummed and clanked almost as much as it does today while its transformation proceeds noisily. Graphic prints of it are two a penny across the capital, but I’m fond of them because the power station is my near neighbour. I still

The English seaside

‘May I take a picture of your snake?’ I asked the tattooed man with a python around his neck, regretting it as the words left my mouth. He nodded. ‘What’s it called?’ ‘There’s two,’ he replied, gruffly. So there were! Two pythons comfortably coiled, glistening in the sunshine. It was the hottest early May bank

The tables turned

Dining rooms have been in the doldrums for decades. Even Mary Berry has given up on hers. ‘Most of us, I think, live in the kitchen,’ she said recently. She’s right. Plenty of us don’t have a dining room to give up on, me included. Plenty more have knocked down what once divided a dining

Dinner at Modigliani’s

When you arrive for dinner and your host is massaging a purple cauliflower, you know you’re in for an interesting evening. I am in a top-floor flat in Paris, which was once the domain of Amedeo Modigliani. The Italian artist was famous for his louche lifestyle — drink, drugs, women — but we know him best for

Decision breakers

‘The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision,’ said Maimonides. How right he was. Today, we are racked with choice, and decision-making has never been more fraught. It’s hell. Look at restaurant menus. Anything longer than a page is alarming. So much margin for error. ‘Hold on a minute, I

Snapping point

Our family holiday snaps used to be slides. We’d gather in the sitting room while Dad clicked through each one. He and my mother are archaeologists, so the pictures were short on people and long on fortifications. These days we tourists take so many photographs that a slide show would take all day. We record

Throw in the towel

Spas are supposed to be relaxing. You pad around in a regulation robe and too-big slippers. Everything is beautifully soft, crisply white, low lit. There are loungers for flopping and glasses of tea —pale yellow and herbal, not builder’s. Towels are everywhere. It’s rehydrating, restful, rejuvenating. Music tinkles in the background; occasionally a cymbal resounds.

Calendar clash

On a Friday evening in May 2018 I am going to see the Broadway show Hamilton. We had to book the tickets two weeks ago. Fair enough, you might say — some theatre tickets sell out long before rehearsals have begun. Nonetheless, it seems a madly long way off and what if I forget about