Everyday life


You can buy happiness. Here’s how…

12 April 2014

If you are reading this article online, perhaps you could go to the comments section and let us know what single slightly unusual item you have bought which has brought… Read more

5 April 2014

Q. It’s only April and yet I am being emailed by parents who have already taken charge and are drumming up support for collective year presents for teachers at my… Read more


I don’t want to rate the restaurant. I want to rate the date

22 March 2014

It was an averagely OK evening at one of London’s smarter restaurants: the food was edible, the wine wasn’t vinegar, the company was quite adequate and I managed to return… Read more


Why working class grandparents are better than middle class ones

22 March 2014

When I told a friend that my nine-year-old son was staying with his grandparents for the whole week of the half-term, she said: ‘A whole week! My son would be… Read more

A devil monkey. Should they be restrained with Ritalin, or told to behave?

Dyslexia is meaningless. But don't worry – so is ADHD

15 March 2014

There is a beautiful symmetry to all things, I think, and probably related somehow to the concept of karma. Only two weeks ago, a bunch of researchers at Durham University… Read more


The battle against the dog police

15 March 2014

‘Be careful!’ shouted a woman on the North Wales beach. ‘The dog police are back!’ Using her walking stick to help her, Lynne stumbled towards the path leading off the… Read more

15 March 2014

Q. Is there a tactful way to keep one social offer on hold while waiting to see if you have made the cut for something ‘better’ you know to be… Read more

1 March 2014

Q. One of my best friends, who knows I don’t have a great social life at university, has a brother in a band which is touring and will have five… Read more

Author Dame Penelope Lively after receiving her Dame Commander medal  from the Princess Royal Photo: Getty

Penelope Lively

22 February 2014

My surgery has been calling in all those over 75 for a special session with their doctor — a sort of old-age MOT. I came out of mine pretty well,… Read more

22 February 2014

Q. Recently a cousin and I gave a small drinks party in the USA. She had invited a very elegant older Hispanic woman. At the end of the party, my… Read more

15 February 2014

Q. Over New Year I stayed with a man who combines being a generous and exciting host with a punctilious need for swift, hand-written appreciation. I had every intention of… Read more


The comedy club theory of dictatorship

8 February 2014

Have you ever wanted to know how dictators stay in power? Try visiting a comedy club. I went to one the other night. The acts varied in quality. No one… Read more

A little girl climbing into the confessi

Forgive me, Father

8 February 2014

For non-Catholics, the most luridly fascinating aspect of Catholicism is confession. Telling your inmost sins — and we know what they are — to a male cleric, eh? In a… Read more

8 February 2014

Q. I gave a copy of Dan Russel the Fox by Somerville and Ross to a couple I know to be very keen on hunting. It’s an out-of-print novel, hard to… Read more

London 2012 - London Transport

The case against London cabbies

1 February 2014

I lost my misguided faith in black cabs last week, on the corner of Royal College Street in north London. It was the tiniest trip — 2.4 miles from Bloomsbury… Read more

Taken lying down: Thomas Edison demonstrates the cat-nap, Virginia, July 1921

America's war on sleep

25 January 2014

 Fredericksburg, Virginia Ask an American to name the author of the line ‘Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care’, and he will promptly reply ‘Shakespeare’. It’s pure guesswork… Read more

Sesame Street Live charactors (L-R), Ern

Agitprop for toddlers: the oddly strident politics of CBeebies

25 January 2014

I think I might be a bad parent; whenever my wife is out, I plonk our two-year-old daughter in front of the television. The other day we watched a rainbow… Read more


Clarissa Tan's Notebook: Why I stopped drinking petrol

25 January 2014

Florence was in fog the day I arrived. Its buildings were bathed in white cloud, its people moved as though through steam. The Arno river was a dense strip of… Read more

18 January 2014

Q. I have a problem with what might be called location blindness. I live in Balham, but when I arrange restaurant lunches with friends, most of whom live in west… Read more

Enoch Powell and a farmer (Photo: Express/Express/Getty)

Why should Nigel Farage have to fight the ghost of Enoch Powell?

11 January 2014

One of the genuine seasonal pleasures to be enjoyed as 2013 slipped around the U-bend was Enoch Powell making his familiar comeback as the Evil Ghost of Christmases Past. Enoch… Read more

11 January 2014

Q. We had our son’s fiancée and her family to stay recently. After dinner, expecting conversation, we were shocked to see them all slumped in our drawing room staring at… Read more

Woolley Grange

Tanya Gold: Child-friendly, sex-free, nut-heavy – just the hotel for my 40th birthday

11 January 2014

Woolley Grange is a child-friendly country house hotel that seems, at first, entirely monstrous — a grey Tudor house in Wiltshire, with gables like teeth and a pond outside, possibly… Read more


Celia Walden

16 November 2013

For a minute I just stood there with my back against the wall, staring at the credit card receipt. Then I slid down into a crouching position on the kitchen… Read more


Nancy Dell'Olio: Englishmen can't flirt (except for Russell Brand) 

2 November 2013

Why can’t British men flirt? This was one of my first thoughts when I arrived in England some years ago. I adore flirting. Like so many Italians, I consider flirting… Read more

28 September 2013

Q. I am working on becoming a member of the Chipping Norton set. Should I be pronouncing the excellent open-air swimming pool as lee-doh or lie-doh? — P.W., by email… Read more