Simon Arron

This is a first for Lieslieslies. A guest article from Simon Arron, who sadly died last week. Simon was an absolutely fantastic writer and, as a former editor of Motoring News (a role I also once occupied), he was a true inspiration for me.  Below is a piece he wrote for MN’s 50th anniversary edition and every time I read it, I laugh out loud. It is literary gold. I chatted to him just a few months ago and it seems unreal that he has gone. I miss him already. Enjoy.     As you pick up the phone, the…

God will kick down a door for us

This article that I wrote earlier in the year appeared in the latest edition of St Paul’s Ealing church magazine published recently: There’s a song we sing at church and every time I hear the first few bars of it, I wince a little. It’s called Reckless Love and, like many modern church songs, it’s heavy on emotion and light on Biblical exposition, so for an old traditionalist such as myself, I find myself mumbling the words. In particular, there’s a line in this song where it talks about God being prepared to kick down a wall for us, such…

If there isn’t a will… there is a way

One morning, my wife turned to me and said: “I want you to build a kids playhouse out of wooden pallets… like this.” Then she showed me a picture of a very-well-constructed playhouse from the internet and, effectively, gave me that look that said, ‘No arguments.’ I argued. “I don’t have the skills. I am not a carpenter,” I pleaded. “I don’t have the necessary tools. This needs a jigsaw. I don’t have a jigsaw.” The reality was yes, I didn’t have the tools and, as a journalist by trade, the skills. Most of all, however, I didn’t have the…

How a Commer van will bond your dysfunctional family

‘We’re done for.’ These are the words that echoed from my father’s lips as the clutch imploded on the 1967 Commer camper van that had, up until then, transported us from the safety of Hertfordshire, across the channel on a Sealink ferry, down through the cultish beauty of northern France and to the Atlantic ocean town of St Jean-de-Monts. We had left St Jean-de-Monts to make our way home. Time was of the essence since my father was due back at work on the Monday. It was a Wednesday and we had to catch the ferry from Calais to Dover…

Remembrance Day

Earlier this year I attended the funeral of my uncle Rennie – or Reninghelst ­– as he was never ever known in my lifetime. Rennie was my favourite uncle of all my uncles because he was an unstoppable force. He was a fantastic footballer – I think he trialled for a First Division side once – and his skill on the ball was evidential as he revealed his box of tricks in garden kickabouts. He taught me how to ‘dummy’, but little did I know that this would later be referred to as the ‘stepover’ in modern footballing parlance. My…

Remembering dad

Below is a short article I wrote for my church’s magazine. Of course, it feels somewhat incongruous in the context of this blogsite, but, as an act of pure self-indulgence, I felt I couldn’t let an important anniversary go unmentioned… This part of the magazine is reserved for a bit of levity, where a bit of light-hearted humour is required. So, here goes. On April 1 1987 my dad died. I was 21 years old and, as the 30th anniversary of his passing approaches, it still remains the saddest day of my life. The irony of that date is not…

The EU aftermath

On Friday morning I woke and was unhinged by a metaphorical broadside that I hadn’t expected. Our country had voted to leave the EU and the sickness in my stomach and the fear of what the future might bring was overwhelming. I hadn’t really had that feeling since my father died and that was almost 30 years ago. The blanket coverage included a map of the regional splits of the voting patterns and, as I scanned the UK, it was a wake-up-and-smell- the-coffee moment. In my poncey middle-class metropolitan home in West London, with ambitions of bi-folding patio doors and…

The EU debate

I haven’t written anything on this blog for a while because there hasn’t been much to write about, but I feel that the name of this website/blogsite lends itself well to the current EU debate. The killing of Jo Cox, the vitriol, the constant bickering about what is and isn’t ‘fact’ is so saddening it should tell us that, as a nation, we’re not as ‘Great’ as we’d like to think we are. We have to face the reality that we’re just very ordinary and, if you are in any doubt about that, take a long look at the poster…

Chris Huhne

In Huhne’s case the decision to pass on the speeding points to his wife was a particularly stupid one. The summons arrived in June 2003 when he wasn’t even a member of parliament. This was a timebomb which would drag him, his ex-wife and his children through the mire.