Family

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A six-year-old sharpshooter and a New Zealand white – both bound to improve with age

1 August 2015

The Honourable Society of Odd Bottles began proceedings with a report on the activities of our junior branch. These youngsters are not yet eligible to become drinking members, but they… Read more

Image: Getty

27 June 2015

Q. My partner, a leading political commentator on a national newspaper, recently agreed to shave off his hair at the suggestion of his editor, in order to write and illustrate… Read more

What Aristotle would have made of Cambridge’s Lego-sponsored professor

20 June 2015

So Cambridge University has accepted £4 million from the makers of Lego (snort) to fund a Lego chair (Argos sells a kit at £8.99) and a research centre into the… Read more

Nanny-wars

Nanny wars!

13 June 2015

My pregnancy unleashed a primitive craving. The strength of my yearning left me dizzy: a nanny, I wanted a nanny! I worked full time, and couldn’t conceive of giving up… Read more

6 June 2015

First test The driving test celebrated its 80th anniversary. The first person to take the test, R.E.L. Beene of Kensington, passed. Here is some of the advice given to candidates… Read more

Would he rather have had the money?

How to buy a father’s day present (if you must)

6 June 2015

No man ever watched a £20 note flutter from an opened Father’s Day card and thought: ‘How disappointing — not enough thought has gone into that.’ If you’re a son, you’ll… Read more

Brasenose College

My Brasenose college reunion was great (even if David Cameron didn’t turn up)

2 May 2015

A couple of weeks ago I returned to my old Oxford college for a ‘gaudy’ — posh, Oxford-speak for a reunion. This one was for those of us who came… Read more

Toby

Fatherhood is killing me

25 April 2015

Not a day passes when I don’t look on my father’s record with shock and awe. I’m not talking about his authorship of Labour’s 1945 manifesto, his invention of the… Read more

The Stig Photo: Getty

I went looking for a used car – and found my inner boy racer

11 April 2015

A bit late, I know, to put in a bid for Jeremy Clarkson’s old job. But I think I might just accidentally have rediscovered my inner petrolhead. What happened was… Read more

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Meet the Skype Dads: a new sorrow of divorce in the internet age

11 April 2015

Could you be a useful and loving father to your children if you only ever saw them on a computer screen? Most of us would say no. So much of… Read more

11 April 2015

Q. For ten years, I have made a reasonable freelance income working from home. During this time my husband has gone out to an office to work, leaving home in… Read more

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In praise of messy old kitchens

28 March 2015

‘I love my new kitchen heart of the home let’s fill it with friends happy.’ So says the thought bubble in the current ad for the estate agents Rightmove, part… Read more

UK Budget Day 2015

Danny Alexander

21 March 2015

It’s dangerous, in my line of work, to promise you’ll be anywhere by 8 p.m. I made this mistake recently, saying I’d turn up to a dinner after a Budget… Read more

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How we drive our children mad

21 March 2015

Mental health is a slippery concept at best and according to the annual prevalence rates given in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, people in… Read more

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The end of childhood - what we lost when we dropped the age of consent

14 March 2015

In all the sound and fury about historic sex crimes against children, one crucial factor has been generally ignored. Last week, a review of the agencies dealing with the phenomenon… Read more

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne Photo: Getty

Miriam Gross

7 March 2015

Last week I went to the exhilarating English National Opera production of Wagner’s The Mastersingers — five hours of wonderful music and singing whizzed by without a moment’s boredom. But… Read more

Save for a home I’ll never afford? I’d rather go shopping

Why twentysomethings don't save

7 March 2015

Your first pay packet, in your first ‘proper’ job, almost seems like a miracle. So much money, coming straight into your bank account, every month? But once you’ve got over… Read more

7 February 2015

Q. The woman who lives above me has insomnia and walks around all night. I’m also disturbed by her rather noisy cat, which seems to be constantly jumping around. Together… Read more

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The benefits of breeding like a rabbit

31 January 2015

Let’s face it. Whatever Pope Francis actually means when his head is in the clouds during those in-flight press conferences of his, we Europeans need to breed like rabbits if… Read more

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Soon, parents will stop wanting their children to go to university. And they'll be right

24 January 2015

Could the current generation of parents be the first ones who won’t want their children to go to university? Until now that mortarboard photo on the sideboard has always been… Read more

24 January 2015

Q. A neighbour is hosting a party for his daughter’s 21st birthday. Adequate provision has been made for anyone who wants to sleep over but I won’t be taking up… Read more

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Penelope Lively’s notebook: Coal holes and pub opera

13 December 2014

I have been having my vault done over. Not, as you might think, the family strong room, but the place beneath the pavement — the former coal cellar — pertaining… Read more

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Pacific-sized love

29 November 2014

Grandpa turns purple in the sun. He says it is because we are Filipino, but my skin never colours that way. I watch him mystified as he calls to the… Read more

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Did you do something for the last time today?

22 November 2014

The end of the year seems a good time to think about lasts. Not many of us ever do. Firsts are always landmarks: the first time you taste alcohol, drive… Read more

Alexander Masters

15 November 2014

Two million pounds can buy you consideration for a place on a medical trial! Every year untold numbers of potential cancer therapies are abandoned. There is simply not enough money… Read more