High life

High life | 2 November 2017

I have a message for the London mayor, Sadiq Khan: you and your policies stink! While the fuzz are busy scanning the internet for racist or sexist material, crime in the capital is up by six per cent over the past 12 months and the police — handicapped by PC orders from above — have

Low life

Low life | 2 November 2017

The French countryside around here is teeming with wild boar. They visit the shack at night to eat the pansies and nose up the flower-beds, and their violent flare-ups over a disputed morsel wake us up. Standing about in the lane the other night, blocking it, was a 25-strong gathering of them. They ranged from

Real life

Real life | 2 November 2017

‘The colour of this kitchen is inspired by a blend of heather, bracken and the mountains of the Isle of Skye,’ says the brochure. ‘Oh, sweet Lord,’ I think. ‘I just want a kitchen.’ Five months into the renovation and my fondest wish is simply for it all to be over before Christmas. But for

Wild life

Wild life | 2 November 2017

Laikipia   Flying home across Laikipia’s ranchlands with Martin after a farmers’ meeting, I see the plateau dotted with cattle and elephants. Stretching away towards the north, it is all green after good rains. I think to myself that farming is hard enough without having to deal with toxic politics: will there be a drought,

More from life

How I was turned into a free speech martyr

I had the unusual experience last Sunday of appearing on a panel to defend free speech having been the victim of censorship 24 hours earlier. As Claire Fox, the chair of the event, said: ‘We are lucky enough to have our very own free speech martyr on the panel.’ Martyr is putting it a bit

Wine Club

Wine Club 4 November

Gosh I love Gosset champagne! And having recently been in the enviable but liver-challenging position of researching a book on my favourite fizzes, I remain convinced that this oldest of all Champagne houses (est. 1584) is up there with the very best. Thanks to our partners, Mr. Wheeler, we are able to offer almost the

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 2 November 2017

Q. Twice in one week I have been found unready for my guests. Occasion one: in the garden, finishing my lunch. A knock at the front door. Standing there, smiling expectantly, a groomed guest to play bridge at 2 p.m. The time was 1.40 p.m. Occasion two: upstairs, changing for a 2 p.m. meeting at my


Unbridled delight

An artist ought to draw on broad human sympathies and an intense commitment to his craft. In both respects, Charles Church qualifies. As a youngster, he set off for art school, in search of instruction, and found it: a worthless curriculum. There was no copying of Old Master drawings (no drawing of any kind), no

Mind your language


John Farquhar of Salisbury writes to say he is irritated. He is not just irritated, he has long been long irritated, which is either a virtue or a vice, depending on the irritant. In his case, the grain of sand in the oyster is the pronunciation ‘by those in the medical fraternity’ of medicine as

The Wiki Man

The wisdom of the skies

It took a spate of air disasters in the late 1970s, in particular the Portland crash of United Airlines Flight 173, for aviation experts to pay attention to something called Crew Resource Management. This is a set of procedures first conceived by Nasa with the aim of minimising human error in flight. UA173 — where