Mark Solomons

Mark Solomons is a former industrial correspondent at the Sun.

For my 60th birthday, I’m taking up smoking

Next month I will be 60. It’s an unwelcome landmark birthday as far as I’m concerned but they say that taking up a new hobby or pastime is a good way to combat the advances of old age. So I’ve decided to take up smoking. It was either that or something physical such as cycling

Hornets aren’t the villains they’re made out to be

There’s surely not a more despised creature in Britain than the hornet. They have long been viewed as yellow jacketed killers: wasps on steroids with Hannibal Lecter tendencies. Unlike bees, a member of the same insect family, you’d be hard pushed to find a friendly portrayal of a hornet (with the exception, perhaps, of Watford

The secret of Mick Lynch’s success

There are plenty of losers from this week’s railway strikes, not least the legions of commuters who found themselves stuck. But one clear winner is emerging: RMT boss Mick Lynch. Lynch has been feted for his straight-talking media appearances and composure under fire. He’s clever, witty and funny. It also helps that he has made

In praise of Mick Lynch

The RMT union boss Mick Lynch is currently dominating TV screens and social media, making mincemeat out of politicians and broadcast interviewers alike. Hapless Tory MPs that attempted to recite pre-rehearsed cliches and dodgy statistics have been gunned down by the mature, considered and, yes, gruffly charming manner of Lynch. In a previous life, I

The trouble with being teetotal

I’m 58 years old and have spent 40 of those years as a journalist and yet there is something that shames me, that makes me inferior to so many of my colleagues and, indeed, many of my friends and family outside the world of journalism. I’m rubbish at drinking.  Instead of being wasted on booze,

Will Sizewell C see off the avocet?

There are many reasons why birds disappear — and why they return. The avocet, however, is probably the only one that owes its resurgence to the Nazis. After a 100-year hiatus in Britain, this elegant black and white wader reappeared after the second world war. Four pairs were found in Minsmere nature reserve and another

Why it’s boom time for bitterns

Bitterns are booming, both literally and metaphorically. These handsome brown birds from the heron family make a noise quite unlike anything else in Britain and we are lucky to be able to hear it. If there is such a thing as a birding bucket list then hearing a bittern’s ‘boom’ — the loudest bird call

Why egrets keep making headlines

There’s an unwritten rule in newspaper journalism that any story about egrets must have one of two headlines. Either ‘no egrets’ if numbers are dropping or ‘egrets, we’ve had a few’ if they are booming. At the moment, fortunately, it’s the latter. The little egret (egretta garzetta) can be seen as something of a trailblazer.

Mothing is a serious business

As darkness falls, a group of mainly middle-aged men set up traps of various shapes and sizes — some sophisticated and expensive-looking, others more Heath Robinson-like — in gardens and fields across the country. These are moth enthusiasts: a largely unknown and, by their very nature, unseen group of hobbyists. They are mostly fanatical birdwatchers