Once upon a time, not that long ago, St Moritz was the world’s greatest resort, an exclusive winter wonderland for royalty, aristocrats and shipping tycoons. I’d say the place reached its peak between the 1940s and the late 1960s; like the rest of the great old resorts around the world, it’s been downhill ever since. The reason for this is obvious: the newly rich barbarians outnumber the old guard, and resorts rely on big spenders.
‘We’re at war!’ said the taxi man as I installed myself for the long drive to Marseille. I put a fist to my mouth and tooted my imaginary bugle. But world war three – as he saw it – was no joking matter. My tootling bugle irritated him and his voice rose by a querulous octave. Didn’t I realise? Everything has changed since this morning! European politics had changed! French politics had changed! Who was now going to vote for a political novice like Zemmour, for example?
Horizontal in its dashboard holder, his smartphone was showing a three-cornered TV debate on a rolling news channel.
Trees glorious trees. People can’t get enough of them. They don’t want to take care of trees, they just want to plant more and more of them.
We have so many trees not being cared for by our local council that I was utterly amazed to see volunteer do-gooders planting saplings around the village green and surrounding common land when I was out walking the spaniels the other day.
Surely they can’t want more trees not to pollard, coppice or treat for processionary moth, I thought.
Vladimir Putin’s decision on Sunday to put his ‘deterrence forces’ – code for nuclear weapons – in a high state of readiness revived a fear in me that I haven’t experienced since the fall of the Berlin Wall. As someone who spent his teenage years during the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war was never very far from my mind. Indeed, one of the biggest political battles back then was between unilateralists and multilateralists and I was firmly in the latter camp, even starting a local anti-CND group called ‘A Sensible Approach to Nuclear Questions’.
Q. Recently I started hanging out with a new friend. We are both in our twenties, single, and usually go to gatherings and talks downtown. I’m working part-time and studying, she has graduated and is working full-time. We both live in the suburbs, not too close to each other. I drive, she doesn’t, and she refuses to use public transportation. The result is, she asks that I chauffeur her around, while normally I would use public transportation.
The inhabitants of Tuscany and Umbria can claim to be the most civilised beings on the planet, even exceeding the Afrikaners and the Ulster Prods. In the farms, villages and hill towns, there is an easy understanding of life’s pleasures, naturally including food and drink. One might describe it as prelapsarian, except that Adam and Eve did not drink wine – which surely justifies the Fall. Well done, that serpent.
It is easy to imagine the course of events on a typical morning in a typical village.
‘This will interest you,’ said my husband, looking up from the smeared screen of his telephone. For once he was right.
It was a Twitter post about a memorable remark during the invasion of Ukraine. Snake Island is a small, bare outpost in the Black Sea near the Danube Delta. When a Russian cruiser invited the Ukrainian soldiers stationed there to surrender, they replied, ‘Йди на хуй’, transliterated as ‘Idi na khuy’.
The point of the tweet was that their remark had been translated in a rather American way as ‘Go fuck yourself’, and a more idiomatic version in British English would be ‘Fuck off’.
All it takes is an Alice moment
ducking my head to go down the passage
into house number seven
and my huswif’s eye takes over
approves the stone dresser
(not much dusting), the handy storage cells,
the fit and bulk of the front door’s slab,
the mattress of bracken, the sheepskin rugs.
And outside a neighbourly village
of six tidy middens, some barley fields
and the Bay of Skaill spread in blue welcome.
I’ll take it.
Here’s a useful tip. Go to the Royal Mail website
and you can ask your postman to collect letters or parcels from your home at a
cost of 60p per item. You pay for postage online, print a label and book a
collection for the following day. Granted, it’s an extravagant way to merely
avoid a walk to the postbox, but for special delivery items or parcels it’s a
godsend. If you don’t have a printer at home, you can even get your postie to
bring a label.
Even when the authorities were refusing Milton Harris the right to renew his training licence after he got his finances in a tangle and went bankrupt in 2011, they acknowledged that nobody questioned his ability to train racehorses. Nor can they. On Saturday, in Kempton’s Adonis Hurdle, Milton’s Knight Salute, purchased for just £14,000, took his unbeaten record over hurdles to five. His trainer has had 42 winners this season at a strike rate of 21 per cent and is one of the few British handlers ready to take on the Irish at Cheltenham this month.