“We were so horny,” my very conservative friend from a very traditional family told me. “But we weren’t allowed to sleep together until we were married.”

As for me, I preferred to have the honeymoon first 🙂

But this is serious.



One of my favourite pastimes is going to secondhand bookshops in London. My paticular favourite is Oxfams, in St John’s Wood, which is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and on Sunday from 1230pm to 4pm.

The books here typically cost from £1 to £9.99, and most are in mint condition.

Last week, I bought Ian McEwan’s Chesil Beach, and by some coincidence, I ended up on Chesil Beach in Dorset at the weekend.

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 21.49.39

Chesil Beach is pretty unusual.  It’s not sandy or rocky, but full of pebbles. It’s most notable feature is that it is 26.2 miles long, which is the exact marathon distance.

Instead of running the marathon miles, I sat on the beach and read the book:


McEwan’s little book is stunning. It’s about ONE NIGHT in 1962 (yes, the story is about one night).  It tells the story of Florence and Edward who loved each other very much.  They courted for several months, giddy with love, even their families (who could not be more different) loved each other, and like many couples in love, they carried in their hearts love’s simple dreams.  Edward used to watch Florence as she rehearsed her violin, dreaming of the children they might have – will I have a daughter who wears Alice band like her mother to love?

Nothing could go wrong, could it? They loved each other so much. For Edward, he loved Florence until his dying day.

The one night that McEwan wrote about was Florence and Edward’s honeymoon night in a little hotel on Chesil Beach. Without spoiling the story for those who wish to read it (I particularly encourage parents of teenagers, especially cavemen fathers who want to shoot their daughters’ suitors), the story unfolds to show what a profound effect our first loves can have on the rest of their lives….and the words not said because of pride or fear:

So this is what I’m saying…..if you love someone, tell her/him. If you need to say sorry, please do it, don’t be too proud and don’t let fear hold you back xxx

Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach is available on Kindle.

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 22.32.32