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A death, live-streamed: my husband’s Skype funeral

When my husband died last month, I was as prepared as a person can be. Howard had been afflicted for many years by early-onset dementia and that, as we all know, is a one-way street. What I was totally unprepared for was the lockdown factor. Could we even have a funeral? Yes, we could, as

Could the key to Covid be found in the Russian pandemic?

The killer came from the east in winter: fever, cough, sore throat, aching muscles, headache and sometimes death. It spread quickly to all parts of the globe, from city to city, using new transport networks. In many cities, the streets were empty and shops and schools deserted. A million died. The Russian influenza pandemic of

America is burning – and it could cost Trump the presidency

‘The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end,’ said Donald Trump on 21 July 2016, as he accepted the Republican party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States. ‘Safety will be restored.’ Mark that down as a broken promise. On Friday, as a seething mob menaced the

Why whales sing: it’s a question of culture

A few years ago I was sitting in Carl Safina’s yard on Long Island, drinking tea, occasionally patting a dog who was lying at my feet. Safina was talking about the magnanimity of wolves. A wolf in Yellowstone National Park, known as Twenty-One, never lost a fight, and unlike most wolves, never killed a vanquished


Why is it that age limits never apply to men?

I’d never have thought I’d be good at doing nothing. Or rather walking the dogs, loafing in the sun, trying to match Paul Hollywood’s tête de brioche (third time of trying), doing jigsaws and reading hefty books. But I’m lovin’ it. The only thing that stresses me — indeed brings me out in lower-deck language

Notes on...

Nothing brings people together like a coach holiday

Amid all the Covid-19 coverage, it’s hardly surprising that the collapse of a coach-tour operator last week didn’t make too many headlines. But the end of Shearings, the largest such operator in Europe, could mean the end of coach holidays in the UK, and if that happens, something very special will have been lost. Coach