High life

The changing face of the Eternal City

Rome To the Eternal City for the saddest of occasions, the funeral of the mother of Taki, 17, and Maria, 15, two of my four grandchildren. Assia was of noble birth and met my son John Taki at the Rosey school in Switzerland, where they both studied skiing and other such useful pursuits. They had

Real life

Canine manners have gone to the dogs

‘Do you want me to put my dog on the lead?’ shouted the woman on her phone, as she came towards me on the woodland path, her huge hound bounding ahead. It was not a polite question. It should have had ‘or what?’ on the end of it. Dave leapt into action and grabbed the

No sacred cows

Young’s First Law of free speech

I’ve always been envious of journalists who give their names to ‘laws’, as in O’Sullivan’s First Law: ‘All organisations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.’ So I’m going to take a stab at articulating Young’s First Law and it is this: ‘The more progressive a country is when it comes to

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can we restrict who signs our visitors’ book?

Q. We own an estate and house in Devon. It is mostly used by family members but we do let several prime weeks. Our last tenant has annoyed us by writing in the family visitors’ book (a very personal and historic archive). She listed ‘improvements’ we could make, such as installing Sky television and providing


What’s so super about Super Tuscans?

In Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the hopes embodied in the title dissolve into grimness and black irony. It was all Mussolini’s fault. Despite the endless opportunities Italy offered for enjoyment, Fellini never trusted his own country, or his countrymen. He could not relax into dolce far niente. For decades, many Italian wine-makers churned outa mass-market

Mind your language

What does it mean to be ‘2S’?

Justin Trudeau has attracted a certain amount of mockery by referring in a tweet to people who are 2SLGBTQQIA+. The Canadian Prime Minister was referring to people who are Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex or asexual, plus anything else that might come to mind. The official website of the Canadian government



After Clacker had roared into  the deserted school playground  in the works pickup,  he wouldn’t budge from his cab.  He left it to us to flip the clips to free the tailboards. We took our time  dragging the ten-foot sections  of Mills scaffold frames and boards  off the bed, while he sat  in a bubble

The Wiki Man

The turf