Laurie Graham

Laurie Graham is a novelist and scriptwriter. Her latest book is Anyone For Seconds?

Why I’m happy being a Brother

Two years ago, without being ennobled in any Honours list or recourse to surgery, I gained a new title. To the list of Mrs Graham, Mum and Nonna, I added Brother. It signified that I had become a resident of the Charterhouse almshouse.  The title is, if nothing else, a conversation piece. If I’m required

Open alms: how I came to live on charity

A year ago, I moved into what I hope will be my home for the rest of my life. I became an almshouse resident. The announcement of my implied reduced circumstances provoked some interesting responses: from family, joy that my recent hard times were over; from acquaintances, a range of reactions: embarrassment, shocked disbelief, scepticism.

The pernicious creep of Big Nanny

Waiting at a coach station recently, in the space of seven minutes I was cautioned three times by the disembodied voice of Big Nanny. No smoking or vaping was allowed. Cycling was prohibited. Pedestrians were directed to use only the designated crossings. I almost wished I’d opted to travel by rail, but then I remembered

The untimely death of the landline

I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I know who still have a landline telephone, and I am not among them. Getting one installed in my new home is feasible but why, my children ask, would I bother? I have a mobile phone, albeit a very basic one, and what more

Martin Vander Weyer, Laurie Graham, Michael Mosbacher

15 min listen

On this week’s episode, we’ll hear from Martin Vander Weyer on the crash of crypto. (00:47) Next, Laurie Graham on the difficulties of downsizing. (04:20) And finally, Michael Mosbacher on the history of the fur industry. (12:20) Produced and presented by Sam Holmes Subscribe to The Spectator today and get a £20 Amazon gift

The difficult decisions that come with downsizing

I’m perched on the bed reading an old Mothering Sunday card. It’s just one item in a box of miscellanea that I must sort and prune and I really can’t afford the time to linger. That box contains a fraction of what I have to deal with before I move house and I need to

Why cash is still king to me

I recently set out on a simple mission: to break the £10 note in my purse so I’d have a five to put in the church collection plate on Sunday. My first attempt backfired. The café, where my order was delivered with an eye-roll of metro disdain, no longer accepted cash payments. I sat at

Leading article, Fiona Mountford, Laurie Graham and Isabel Hardman

24 min listen

On this week’s episode, Fraser Nelson starts by reading our leading article: the Prime Minister promised ‘data, not dates’, so should we reopen before 21 June? (01:15) Fiona Mountford is on next, saying she’s had enough of corporate faux-friendliness. (07:20) Laurie Graham reads her piece afterwards, wondering what to put in her Covid time capsule.

What should we put in our time capsule of the plague year?

The ladies of my church knitting circle (note, we are open to those who identify ‘-otherly’, and to practitioners of diverse crafts) are an enterprising bunch, and no techno slouches either. Unbowed by Covid, we have continued to meet via Zoom, bringing along our own tea, cake and creative endeavours. We love a project, and

The power of cold showers

Hippocrates prescribed it to allay lassitude, James Bond favoured it as a token of his manliness, and in less indulgent times Gordonstoun school insisted on it: the cold shower. And now it’s having a moment with the wellness brigade. (The very word ‘wellness’ used to send me screaming from the room: a Californian import, I

The infantilism of Advent calendars for grown-ups

Long ago and far away, small children used to arm-wrestle their siblings for the privilege of opening a door in a cardboard Advent calendar. It was reward enough to find a picture of an angel or an awestruck donkey. How quaint that now seems. Because then Cadbury saw an opportunity and launched an alternative calendar,

Why I’ve given up on handbags

I have given up handbags. Men may think this a trifling thing. Women will understand it was not a painless decision. In my adult life I had rarely left home without a bag. Sometimes just a small clutch bag, but more likely a bucket bag which hung, with the weight of a Yorkshire terrier, from

A death, live-streamed: my husband’s Skype funeral

When my husband died last month, I was as prepared as a person can be. Howard had been afflicted for many years by early-onset dementia and that, as we all know, is a one-way street. What I was totally unprepared for was the lockdown factor. Could we even have a funeral? Yes, we could, as

In defence of pocket money

Our grandchildren are penniless. They have pretty much everything their hearts desire and they have parents with wallets full of plastic, but they lack the satisfying chink of coins in a jam jar. I was alerted to this state of affairs when one of our tribe turned nine and I asked his mother how much

Young recycling zealots are talking rubbish

Church attendances may be falling, but there’s a new religion in town: recycling. Its followers are devout and full of missionary zeal. They follow the collection day rubrics to the letter and if you ask them what evidence they have that sorting their polyethylenes from their PVCs is any more effective than lighting a penny

Outside the box

In the summer of 1999 I did something radical. Spurred on by my husband’s universal loathing of television I took our TV set to the landfill and I haven’t owned one since. Twenty unrepentant years without the demon box, and alive to tell the tale. My family long ago accepted this stubborn eccentricity. They’ve grown