Life

Dear Mary: how can I stop myself procrastinating?

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Q. I am not a professional writer but on the strength of a short piece I contributed to a Festschrift…

The ideal restaurant for the mythical Spectator reader: Bellamy’s reviewed

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Bellamy’s is a Franco-Belgian brasserie in Bruton Place, a dim alley in the charismatic part of Mayfair; the part that…

Epics are hard and dull – but today’s are ‘great’ and ‘nice’

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Spoiler alert: in Henry Fielding’s play Tom Thumb, the hero is swallowed by a cow ‘of larger than the usual…

My advice to men and women

13 April 2019 9:00 am

OK chaps, keep your hands where people can see them, and don’t touch. And try not to look. Soon that…

I took Oscar to Provence - in business class!

13 April 2019 9:00 am

In the Easter holidays, plus two school days, for which his mother will be fined or, as a serial offender,…

I will never, ever, vote Conservative again

13 April 2019 9:00 am

With very little expectation they would care, I sent an email to Mole Valley Conservatives. It always amuses me, that…

The Grand National is one of the great days out

13 April 2019 9:00 am

If you’ve never been to a Grand National and are approaching an age when it is appropriate to list ten…

Bridge

13 April 2019 9:00 am

When did International Women’s Day become an official fixture? I have never been aware of it before this year and…

Wine Club 13 April

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Everyone loves the wines of Villa Maria. Its so-called Private Bin range is hugely reliable and, heaven knows, I’ve drunk…

Be prepared

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Last week I wrote about Cyrus Lakdawala’s new book, which provides an aggressive repertoire based on the solid move 1…

no. 549

13 April 2019 9:00 am

White to play. This is from Gukesh-Paramzina, Sharjah 2019. Twelve-year-old Gukesh is the second youngest grandmaster of all time (behind…

Write of passage

13 April 2019 9:00 am

In Competition No. 3093 you were invited to submit an extract from a novel that chronicles the adult life of…

2403: Hexad

13 April 2019 9:00 am

The second and fourth letters of six unclued lights (defined by surplus single words in six clues) form a set…

to 2400: Unclued

13 April 2019 9:00 am

The preamble suggests that unclued entries are partial anagrams of UNCLUED. The ‘repeated cryptic clue (= anagram of CLUE)’ ‘fixes…

Penny Mordaunt at a meeting of think tank Onward (Getty)

Being ‘down with the kids’ has turned the Tories into a laughing stock

13 April 2019 9:00 am

The news that 83 per cent of Conservative voters are over 45, compared to 53 per cent of Labour voters,…

The Battle for Britain

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Slow road marking on a country road

The consequences of the new EU car speed limit

13 April 2019 9:00 am

A once famous question posed to job-seekers at Microsoft was ‘Why are manhole covers round?’ The question was revealing not…

Dear Mary: how can I make my timid husband ask for a longer haircut?

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Q. We sent out email invitations to our drinks party and have had too many acceptances. The venue has said…

Durdle Door, Dorset (istockphoto.com)

Independence for Dorset? I’ll raise a glass to that

13 April 2019 9:00 am

There was a shrewd old Tory MP called John Stokes. He was not on the left of the party. Indeed,…

(istockphoto.com)

‘Augury’ is to do with birds? That’s a flight of fancy

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Was the cascade of water that made the Commons suspend its sitting an omen or augury? When I asked that…

Mortimer Sackler and me

6 April 2019 9:00 am

New York   It was 51 years ago, in the Hôtel du Cap d’Antibes, that I first met the man…

Am I about to be usurped by Philippe, our handsome French gardener?

6 April 2019 9:00 am

We have a gardener, Philippe, who comes once a week. He lives in a ruin a little way down the…

The builder boyfriend and I have left the EU – and it’s great

6 April 2019 9:00 am

After all that waiting and arguing, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed leaving the EU. The builder boyfriend and I…

My time in Somalia with Michael Meacher, Tony Benn’s ‘vicar on earth’

6 April 2019 9:00 am

East Africa   The late Michael Meacher represented almost everything I loathe in a politician. Before his death in 2015,…

Bridge

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Each March, a roll call of bridge superstars come to compete in the Vanderbilt Knockout Teams, one of America’s most…