The Oxford Omnibus

The Oxford Omnibus 2023
The annual stock of Christmas cards was delivered to my Oxfam shop in early September. Along with the arrival of meteorological (then astronomical) autumn it was all a sharp reminder of wingèd chariots, ‘that old bald cheater’ and the ultimate desert of entropy. We are hurtling on, as ever.

Another Christmas (good heavens!) and another Oxford Omnibus. So here are the stories of the year of a relatively quiet life in Oxford – a year very similar in pattern to the previous one, I realise as I put this bulletin together; not repetitious at all, but evidence of a settled life within generous bounds; lots of places, sights and people familiar to readers of OO, but seen, I hope, from new angles and in new configurations.
The Oxford Omnibus 2022
With this third edition of the Oxford Omnibus, once more we send warmest good wishes to friends in the UK and around the world. At this fine pagan festival, OO joins all those Balham Bulletins and Tropical Telegraphs that have been our substitutes for festive cards for fifty years or so.
The Oxford Omnibus 2021
It’s been a quiet year for us, untypically lacking in adventure and colour. We have been spared the worst of the pandemic, the turmoil of natural disasters and the horrors of war and political upheaval. We have had all the power, water, groceries – and vaccines – we could want. But it’s been a small and cautious life in this lovely place. Summer and autumn saw things beginning to open up, but there was still a great sense of unease and uncertainty. There is fragility and looming crisis in so many areas that it’s hard to imagine 2022 being safe and comfortable, not least here in Britain in the grip of our disorderly and unreliable political cabal.
The Oxford Omnibus 2020
Although the sun is shining and the sky is blue as I write to you from the riverside in Oxford, I can’t forget that it’s the end of a dark and troubling year on our planet and there is much more suffering to come. It seems unlikely that Christmas and New Year will be anything like we are used to (London fireworks already cancelled); the prospects for 2021 are not encouraging. In the midst of threats to health and livelihoods, to rational discourse and the pursuit of truth, to peace and prosperity, I hope you will find some hope and pleasure. I have to remind myself of my privilege and good fortune when so much seems to be falling apart, when so many are anxious, insecure and hungry. I hope you will stay safe and healthy and will find reasons for optimism, at least at home if not in the wider, chaotic world around us.

The Tropical Telegraph

The Tropical Telegraph 2019
Here’s wishing you hope and strength as another bizarre and tumultuous year passes by. Apart from mental distress at the absurdities of our leaders and at the dismal prospects for the future of the planet, everyday life has continued more or less as normal for us privileged folk. This edition of TT is full of stories of good times with lovely people in attractive places; how lucky we are! I hope 2020 will bring some chance of a better world – less fighting and destruction, less hunger and poverty, less stupidity and short-sightedness; more collaboration and compassion; more action to protect every precious aspect of this beautiful world. May you have a good year!
The Tropical Telegraph 2018
Welcome to the 2018 edition of The Tropical Telegraph! Good wishes to you as yet another year fades away. It’s been a rich and rewarding twelve months in our private lives, but another monstrous period on the national and global stage. This is the season to remember and relish all the good things and to gather our energies for dealing with the bad stuff past and to come. This edition is full of colourful, happy times, with just a few glances at the monsters in the shadows.
The Tropical Telegraph 2017
At the end of this deeply disturbing year, seasonal greetings and goodwill seem more important than ever! Hoping you and your loved ones will enjoy pleasures and peace of mind for the few days of the holiday and beyond.
The Tropical Telegraph 2016
The accelerating irreversibility of time: Having only just become accustomed to writing ‘2016’ for the current year, I am definitely astonished that it’s already coming to an end. It’s flown past, partly because it has been so exciting and eventful, but also – as everyone knows – time actually accelerates every year after you’re about thirty-five. When you’re really ancient (not long now) you can probably celebrate two or three birthdays in what seems like a week.
The Tropical Telegraph 2015
Hello and welcome to the 2015 Tropical Telegraph! I hope all is well and that you have survived the year with a good measure of contentment and some memorable moments.
The Tropical Telegraph 2014
This annual effusion comes with the hope that 2014 has been a positive and happy year and that 2015 will bring many more pleasures for you. No year is without its problems Or sadness Or loss and you’ll find acknowledgement of that inevitability these, otherwise, rather exuberant pages. I shall skip my customary rant about the iniquities and absurdities of the contemporary world and keep to both the highs and lows at a personal level.
The Tropical Telegraph 2013
As usual, it’s been a very varied year, with lots of work, travel, pleasure and sociable occasions. There have been three major preoccupations among the many lesser ones: the completion of my autobiographical account of my first thirty years (now called, Out of Bounds); the diagnosis and management of my geriatric muscle disease; and, after selling my house in London, my continuing uncertainty about what to plan for the future. They’re all discussed on the centre pages, along with some lighter topics as well.
The Tropical Telegraph 2012
Here again is your personal copy of this esoteric publication from the Far East which someone recently was indulgently kind enough to say was, eagerly anticipated. There are only about a hundred and fifty names on the mailing list for the Tropical Telegraph, but with visits to the website approaching a million, it seems that an old man’s adventures and peregrinations do have some entertainment value. I hope you’ll enjpy this year’s edition and the lovely creative work of Mr Neung, who’s designed and typeset it from the beginning.
The Tropical Telegraph 2011
Hello and welcome to the tenth edition of the Tropical Telegraph! It comes with warm good wishes for the season to all my friends round the world. This year, the pictures and stories from the past year appear month by month, in contrast to the usual grouping of topics, people and places. i hope it will give some flavour of the passing of the year and its succession of travels and events. Read on!
The Tropical Telegraph 2010
It was just a few days after my 65th birthday in January that the threat of losing my farm and the student dormitory to Chai’s greedy family was lifted. In a very expensive civil court settlement, a comprehensive agreement was signed guaranteeing my right to remain, undisturbed on the farm, and to sell the dormitory to a buyer of my choice. That ended two years of miserable uncertainty, lengthy and unsuccessful negotiations and court appearances, and living with the oppressive greed and ingratitude of a family I had done so much to help in the past. It was a liberation which profoundly affected my life and largely restored my peace of mind.
The Tropical Telegraph 2009
Welcome to this year’s Tropical Telegraph! Mr Neung, my designer, and I have decided to give more prominence to photos this year and to try and restrain my seasonal ramblings. A diary of my life from month to month appears on my website ( where you can find the detailed stories and hundreds of pictures in the galleries. Here are just some of the highlights of the year and the best photos. (By the way, there have now been more than a quarter of a million visits to the website in its seven and a half years. It’s prompted some email reunions with long-lost friends which have been a great delight.)
So a few pages exclusively of captioned photos this year, and rather more limited prose (or less expansive prose, depending on how you see it). Browse on!
The Tropical Telegraph 2008
It has been a year of intense highs and lows, and of very hard work. At times, my commitment to Thailand and my pleasure in living here have been seriously threatened, while at others I’ve enjoyed the substantial delights of friendship, lovely places, good food and some adventures.
The Tropical Telegraph 2005
it’s been a rich, interesting and memorable year, The tsunami provided the menacing near-death finale to 2004 and the troubling averture to 2006 with its minor but prolonged medical aftermath. The year included my sixtieth birthday (shortly after the oceanic drama), vists from lats of friends and family, travel on three connents, summer holidays in Sweden and a UK wedding, tripe round Thailand, hosting a honeymooning nephew and his wife, and just recently the expansion of our farm to double its previous size.