SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Sophia Waugh

November 12, 2020
“Charity”, said Saint Thomas Aquinas, “brings to life again those who are spiritually dead.” But charities, like so much else, are facing troubles in the pandemic and as a result of the lockdowns which are defining our current world. 166,000 charities are reporting dangerous shrinkage in income, most visible among them perhaps the Royal British
October 27, 2020
How a visit to a tiny Italian church reignited faith. Both in England and in Italy church attendance is dwindling, particularly among the young. In England, we think of the Italians as devout, but in the decade up to 2018 the number of weekly attendees dropped by four million to 14.3 million; in England and
September 10, 2020
The British government has pledged £350 million on a National Tutoring Programme. In promising schools £350million for his National Tutoring Programme [NTP], Boris Johnson has, once again, missed the point. While there is national agreement that the students who have missed almost six months of school need help, the package offered is not going to
August 08, 2020
Healthy choices are learned We are fat. Our children are fat. And our Prime Minister is fat. But not as fat as he was. We are, alas, a nation of fatties. And this is problem begins before we even start school. 9.5% of reception age children (4-5 year olds) are obese, rising to 20.1% by
July 28, 2020
Six years ago the Man Booker prize opened up from only considering British and Commonwealth writers to allowing any book published in English and in the UK to participate. At the time, many UK writers and publishers kicked up a lot of fuss. It somehow didn’t seem quite fair to let the Americans in when
June 18, 2020
As schools prepare to reopen across the UK, teachers need answers: and they deserve them. We teachers have been key workers throughout the Covid-19 lockdown. We fall between various stools: we are not the real heroes of the story (those working in ICU whether as doctors or nurses or cleaners) nor are we the everyday
May 31, 2020
A grandmother laments the effects of lockdown on her relationship with her grandchildren. Lockdown means different privations for different people, and I am one of the lucky ones. Two of my grown up children are with me, while my poor mother is 25-miles away in total isolation. I usually live alone, and am hugely grateful
August 24, 2020
The Pull of the Stars By Emma Donoghue Picador, 295pp, £16.99 Although The Pull of the Stars opens with nurse Julia Power’s early morning journey to her work in an understaffed hospital, most of this novel takes place in one room. But the room in this novel is very different from the “Room” which made
June 03, 2020
Hamnet By Maggie O’Farrell, Tinder Press, 384PP, £20/$26.95 In 1596, an 11-year-old boy died of the plague in Stratford-Upon-Avon. We know his name, we know who his parents and who his siblings were, but otherwise there is very little known about him. We don’t need to know much, after all. Maggie O’Farrell has taken the
January 01, 1970
Recovery will not be easy as children start returning to schools that are very different