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Long life

Long liferss

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Freedom for my chickens! All it took was a man with a gun

26 July 2014

If I haven’t mentioned my poultry for a while, it’s because the subject has been too depressing. I had been very fond of my ducks and chickens until the constant… Read more

Long-lifeWD

Assisted suicide is too close to murder to be legal

19 July 2014

How amazing to have two former Anglican archbishops, George Carey of Canterbury and Desmond Tutu of South Africa, supporting Lord Falconer’s bill to legalise assisted suicide! It has always been,… Read more

Rolf Harris

I thought paedophiles were rare – but then I read the newspapers

12 July 2014

One problem from which I am confident I don’t suffer is paedophilia. I have always liked picking up babies and hugging them, especially my own children or grandchildren, but never… Read more

Former British PM Launches The Tony Blair Faith Foundation

The profitable delusion shared by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton must be very happy about how they have fared since leaving political office, for each has since become enormously rich. Tony Blair may well be… Read more

Reinhard Heydrich deputy Gestapo chief, also known as 'The Hangman' during a visit to Rome

Brave, noble, forgotten – the other side of Italy's second world war

28 June 2014

At the time of the armistice of September 1943, when the kingdom of Italy formally transferred its allegiance from the Germans to the invading Allies, there were some 40,000 British… Read more

On being fired – and hired – as an editor

21 June 2014

Last week was unusual. At the start of it, I was mooching about in the country in my customary way, doing little odd jobs and fretting over the fate of… Read more

Kensington And Chelsea Street, Egerton Crescent Named Most Expensive For Second Year Running

Young Italians flock to London – for just the same reasons it scares me

14 June 2014

Although I live in the country in Northamptonshire, I go to London often — almost once a week — and I find it more and more intimidating. This isn’t just… Read more

Lord Rennard Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

I wouldn't have accepted Lord Rennard's apology – but then he shouldn't have made it

Shirley Williams has a point when she says that Lord Rennard’s alleged harassment of four female Lib Dem colleagues was very small beer compared with the sexual abuse attributed to… Read more

Tara Erraught Photo: Getty

Sorry, Tara Erraught, but the age of the fat lady singing is over

London’s opera critics have been roundly condemned for suggesting that a female singer’s personal appearance could make her unsuitable for a role. The singer in question is Tara Erraught, a… Read more

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Why do consultants write such scary, incomprehensible letters?

There is a kind of letter designed to bewilder, upset and possibly terrify its recipient, and this is the standard letter sent by specialist medical consultants to the victims of… Read more

Sir George Christie with Swedish soprano Elisabeth Soderstrom Photo: Getty

Why Glyndebourne’s George Christie always cut his own hair

One curious fact about Sir George Christie, who died last week, aged 79, was that he always cut his own hair, a notoriously difficult thing to do. He did it… Read more

dv455069

Would the urine of an eight-year-old protect my chickens?

I was predicting in a recent column that the arrival of spring would be bad news for my poultry, and so it has turned out: two ducks, a fat, waddling… Read more

Secretary of State for Culture, Sajid Javid

The rich have given up their freedom

The appointment of Sajid Javid as the new Secretary of State for Culture has been much criticised on the grounds that culture is not his forte; and in an interview… Read more

Nigella Lawson Photo: Getty

As a nation of voyeurs, we don’t cook but watch TV cookery programmes instead

26 April 2014

When I got married 50 years ago, my wife and I had somehow acquired a little cookery book called Cooking in Ten Minutes. We never quite managed to cook anything… Read more

Long

Our first kills of spring

19 April 2014

The arrival of spring is not an unmitigated joy. The warmth is nice, of course, as are the fresh leaves on the trees and the general sense of rebirth and… Read more

The Queen And Duke Of Edinburgh Visit Rome And The Vatican City

Compassion is fashionable again. Thank the Pope

12 April 2014

There was something poignant about the decision of L’Wren Scott, Mick Jagger’s American girlfriend, who committed suicide in New York last month, to leave everything she had to him in… Read more

Long

America's crazy war on old pianos

5 April 2014

More than 20 years ago, when I was living in New York, I wrote an article about the mutilation by the United States government of a fine old piano on… Read more

Duchy Originals In New Agreement With Waitrose

I'll have to give up Waitrose. It's too exciting for me now

29 March 2014

Waitrose in Towcester has closed down for a week to make what it describes as ‘a final few touches’ to an ‘exciting’ refurbishment. We will see just how exciting this… Read more

Newbury Races

It's sheer madness for Cameron to resurrect the hunting issue

22 March 2014

My house in south Northamptonshire looks out over parkland on which Henry VIII used to hunt deer with Anne Boleyn. The only deer on it nowadays are the unhunted muntjacs,… Read more

Placido Domingo - another golden oldie (Photo: Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty)

I want to age like the Three Tenors

15 March 2014

In February each year the Oldie magazine gives ‘Oldie of the Year Awards’ to people who show unusual vigour and enterprise in old age. This year’s winner was Mary Berry,… Read more

New York City Police Department's Emerald Society marches up Fifth Avenue during the St. Patrick's day parade Photo: Getty

Dear Bill de Blasio: there are better reasons to boycott the St Patrick's Day parade

8 March 2014

The new mayor of New York, who despite his name (Bill de Blasio) claims Irish ancestry, is boycotting this month’s St Patrick’s Day Parade because its organisers refuse to allow… Read more

MBS_008

I was forced on to the internet in the 1980s. I still don't belong there

1 March 2014

With regard to modern technology, I find that people of around my age — by which I mean people in their seventies or over — are divided into two camps.… Read more

Shirley's New Year

Was Graham Greene right about Shirley Temple? 

22 February 2014

Shirley Temple, who died last week at the age of 85, was the most successful child film star in history. During the second half of the 1930s, a decade in… Read more

Milton Keynes, a nice place to live

In praise of Milton Keynes

15 February 2014

Who would ever have thought it, but I have become quite fond of Milton Keynes. Although I live slightly closer to the ancient city of Northampton than to this widely… Read more

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BRITAIN-ENERGY-CLIM

Local protests don't stop windfarms. Subsidy cuts do

8 February 2014

Here in the valley of the River Tove in south Northamptonshire my chickens are laying copiously, my ducks are quacking loudly, and my Jack Russell, Polly, is yapping gaily in… Read more