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Notes on…the great English garden

‘Write about the best English gardens,’ says the email from the deputy editor, ‘or what makes a good garden?’ That’s a bit like saying, ‘write about the best paintings, or the best music.’ Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we now behold so many varieties of English garden that it is hard

After Woolwich, what will change?

The decapitation of a British soldier on a street in London is the latest disgusting new low in this country’s experience of Islamist terror. But everything else in the aftermath of the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby is hideously familiar. What the country has gone through since last Wednesday is the same endless turning over

Men who propose in public should be shot

Never mind all this gay stuff — when is parliament going to get on with the marriage legislation we really need? I’m talking about the law banning men from proposing to their girlfriends in public. It’s been happening for years. Local radio was always the worst offender. ‘Gareth, I think you’ve got something you want

It’s madness to slash the British Museum’s budget

The best argument in favour of state funding of the arts was made in the middle of the 18th century. In 1753 an Act of Parliament established the personal collection of Sir Hans Sloane as a national resource, ‘to be preserved and maintained not only for the Inspection and Entertainment of the learned and the

Don’t jump, Felipe!

Peering over my son’s shoulder as he forced himself through a pile of practice IGCSE maths papers in readiness for this week’s exams, I was shocked both by the absence of pounds sterling and by the ardently international imaginary first names dreamed up by the question-setters. That ‘I’ stands for ‘international’ — and goodness, you’re

Crossrail: transport miracle or public sector folly?

Phyllis has gone to Tottenham Court Road, but Ada is having a day off. In fact she’s slumbering deep below us, just south of Bond Street station with her head under Grays Antique Centre. Phyllis and Ada are twin sisters, 140 metres long, weighing 1,000 tonnes each. I’m imagining them as domesticated versions of those