High life

There will be blood

Sartre was a far greater fornicator than philosopher, but he did come up with the greatest truism of them all: ‘Hell is other people.’ (The last line in one of his plays.) Mind you, a Greek savant has bettered him by proclaiming Hell is other people speaking on their mobiles inside an aeroplane. Yes, it

Low life

Garden pursuits

The woman hired by the National Trust to see that nothing is pilfered from the upper floor at Clouds Hill, and to answer the visitors’ questions, knew almost nothing, she told me, about Colonel T.E. Lawrence, whose house it was from 1923 until he died as a result of a motorbike accident in May 1935.

Slow life

Letter to hope

There are only two kinds of people: the ones that make you feel better and the ones that make you feel worse. It’s a shame, but, as far as I can tell, most people make you feel worse. Some are deliberate s***s, but most of them can’t help it. It’s important to hang on to

More from life

Money and mud

It would have been nice to be at Nad Al Sheba racecourse last Saturday to see the burly, majestic Curlin obliterate the pretenders to his crown as the best racehorse in the world and saunter away with the Dubai World Cup. We only see quality like that once in a decade. Instead I was at

Status Anxiety | 5 April 2008

I am so strapped for cash that I have been forced to give up my outside office and start working from home. With three children under five, this is far from ideal, but at least there’s a small window in the afternoon when the eldest is at school, the middle one is at nursery and

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 5 April 2008

Q. Our 16-year-old son is having 30 friends to a party. For obvious security reasons my husband and I will not go out but have agreed not to show our faces downstairs. This raises a problem with food. Our son refuses to have any, complaining that pizza, sausages, baked potatoes, chicken legs in barbecue sauce,


Cheese politics

‘No buffalo-thyme pizza?’ The grazing grounds around Naples are poisoned, grounds on which herds of water buffalo feed to produce Italy’s most delicate cheese. This ecological disaster has had a knock-on effect even here in Texas, where a rather-too-elegant youth and I are taking a snack break from the rigours of the Obama campaign. Sales

Mind your language

Mind your language | 5 April 2008

‘I wonder,’ writes Kim Parsons from Helston, or nearby, ‘if you have seen the new government-generated No Smoking signs which declare: “It is against the law to smoke in these premises.” Since when has on in this context become in?’’ I have seen the signs, because there is one at the church door in my

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 5 April 2008

One distinction between the private and the public sector is that the former generally has an incentive to offer customers a variety of levels of service, while the latter doesn’t. That’s why you can get a pizza delivered to your home when you’re feeling fine, but you can’t get a doctor to visit you when