High life

Low life

Memories of a departed dog — and of a different me

I shifted a chest of drawers that hadn’t been moved for years, and found an old photograph lying among the dust and the cobwebs behind it. I picked it up and studied it, fascinated by the alien light of the mid-1980s. A summer meadow. A terrier ring at a dog and ferret show. And there

Real life

My Chinese water torture

Drip, drip, drip. The noise of my downstairs London conversion flat, where the plumbing was fitted by turn-of-the-century sadists who booby-trapped the building so that if the upstairs neighbours ever dared to try to re-fit their bathroom, they would unleash a leak and never, ever be able to find the source. Drip, drip, drip. The

More from life

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How to stop cinema iPhone pests

Q. At a private screening of a documentary about the artist David Bomberg, a woman sitting near me in the hand-picked audience carried on using her iPhone to send and receive messages. She had the phone on silent but was generating a rival source of light to the screen we were all supposed to be


Our daily haggis

Give us this day our daily bread: those are also words of great culinary significance. Even if the ‘bread’ takes different forms — rice, pasta, potatoes — billions of people all over the world are following in that prayer’s footsteps. ‘Staple diet’: throughout history, most people have lived off staples, or died when they ran out.

Mind your language

Big changes in little words

I managed to grab the TLS last week before my husband stuffed it in his overcoat pocket and lost it at his club. It had a very enjoyable review by Sir Brian Vickers of the Cambridge edition of Ben Jonson. I understood much of it and agreed with most. A point I applauded was the



My love arrived with tulips, ‘ten for a fiver’, picked up from the supermarket at the end of the street. Fresh off the plane, perhaps he would have preferred to wash his hands but stood in his coat in the kitchen watching me cut through the cellophane and crush the stems with the stainless heel

The Wiki Man

What I learned in a Qatari jail cell

This column nearly didn’t appear. Another 24 hours and I would have trumped the late Jeffrey Bernard with the single sentence ‘Rory Sutherland is in prison.’ Having just spent a day in jail or police cells in Qatar for using an electronic cigarette on a plane, I thought I would just write one piece of