Laurie Graham

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

I want to see a doctor – not do another NHS survey

Nye Bevan did not make old bones, and perhaps that’s just as well. According to a recent British Social Attitudes survey, 52 per cent of those polled are dissatisfied with the NHS, in particular with the difficulties in getting a GP appointment, with long A&E trolley waits and with huge delays for hospital appointments. All

The truth about ‘living with obesity’

It’s been brought to my attention that it is no longer done to describe a person as fat. Better, apparently, to say that they are ‘living with obesity’. This weasel construction makes obesity sound like a malevolent squatter who refuses to be evicted. Or like a bit of genetic bad luck, such as ‘living with

Christmas Special 2023

70 min listen

Welcome to this festive episode of the Edition podcast, where we will be taking you through the pages of The Spectator’s special Christmas triple issue.  Up first: What a year in politics it has been. 2023 has seen scandals, sackings, arrests and the return of some familiar faces. It’s easy to forget that at the

The hell of putting on a Christmas play

In July, when I was asked to confect ‘another Christmas entertainment’ for my community, I viewed such a distant elephant with equanimity. Like memories of the pain of childbirth, the nightmares of amateur dramatics soon fade. Besides, I’d done this many times and survived to tell the tale. All I needed was to reassemble last

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