High life

High life | 3 March 2012

Gstaad It’s early in the morning and very still in the silvery light of the heights up here as I look out my window. A company of wispy white clouds hide behind the surrounding mountains — a reminder that a perfect dawn makes for a perfect day’s skiing. The clouds play games. They wrap themselves

Low life

Low life | 3 March 2012

At the moment we’re very interested in spiders, my grandson and I. If we see one we catch it and put it in a clear plastic pot with a lid that doubles as a powerful magnifying glass, and we examine it. Last week we caught a monstrous one. It filled the pot. It was intelligent

Real life

Real life | 3 March 2012

Childishly, fatuously, I used to play a little game with Lambeth Council that saved me £20 a year. The game went like this: every time my residential parking permit was up for renewal, I used to not renew it for a month, during which time I would park my car five streets away where the

More from life

Status Anxiety | 3 March 2012

How do you stop children fighting on long car journeys? With three boys aged six and under, not to mention an eight-year-old tomboy, it’s getting to be a serious problem. Every journey seems to end in the vehicular equivalent of a cage fight, in which all four frantically try to undo their seatbelts so they

The turf: Update on winners

After a lifetime reporting politics, I am as well accustomed to spin as a washing machine. But a rich new example reaches me from the US. Researching her family tree, a Californian discovered that she shared a great-great-uncle, Remus Reid, with a US senator. Unfortunately, the great-great-uncle was a regularly convicted horse thief and train

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 3 March 2012

Q. A friend has asked me to a small birthday dinner, but she has also, unwittingly, asked a man with whom I have an embarrassing issue. In a nutshell, he invited me on a date and then didn’t call on the day or since. I have met someone else so I am not bitter. But


Drink: Days of claret and cricket

Claret and cricket go together. Not, admittedly, while watching live cricket; then, the drink should be beer. But what about those of us who believe that the second worst affliction in modern cricket — after Twenty20 — is the barmy army? The batsman has played at and missed each of the last three deliveries. The

Mind your language


Since my husband had retuned the television, importing channels that no person free from troubling neurosis could possibly want to watch, such as one devoted to the sale of steam-cleaning machines, I stumbled over Emeli Sandé singing her song ‘Next to Me’, which was No. 2 in the BBC singles charts last week, and may

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Let the road-train take the strain

Only two things matter when choosing a car. What is it like to drive fast? And what is it like to drive very, very slowly? Forget about cornering and acceleration. Very little of our time in cars is spent negotiating hairpin bends or revving chavvishly at a junction. Most motoring falls into two distinct categories.