High life

High Life | 7 February 2009

Gstaad Last week I ventured down to Geneva for a meeting with my banker, a gentleman of the old school who did not get carried away by Bernie Madoff’s siren songs. To the contrary, he went as far as Odysseus, tied himself to his desk and plugged up the ears of his underlings. Metaphorically, that

Low life

Low Life | 7 February 2009

Apart from going to the nearest town one afternoon to have teeth out, I hadn’t been out of the village for six weeks. I might have been depressed about this normally, but a jolly outing I had entered and underlined in my diary for the end of January kept my spirits up. I was popping

Slow life

Slow Life | 7 February 2009

I wonder how much of what we think we love and need is merely habit. It’s only ten weeks since I stopped smoking 100 a day and now I hardly think about it. For sure, I fancy one occasionally, but I suppose I could say the same thing about women, and I’m happily married. Really,

More from life

Status Anxiety | 7 February 2009

I welcome Sir Jonathan Porritt’s advice about population control According to Sir Jonathan Porritt, the government’s green guru, couples who have more than two children are being ‘irresponsible’. ‘I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate,’ he says. He recommends

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport | 7 February 2009

What treats await this weekend. An England Test match in the Caribbean; a north London derby in the increasingly fractious Premier League; and, joy of joys, at long last the Six Nations is back with three succulent games. There’s always an extra tang when rugby’s European showcase is also the selection process for a summer

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 7 February 2009

Q. A friend and I have been working in the new Eliot Reading Room of the London Library and are very pleased with it (the Ladies’ in particular is very swish) but there is one drawback. A bespectacled man of Chinese appearance is in everyday, chomping his way through packets of gum, and making the

Mind your language

Mind Your Language | 7 February 2009

While my husband was at a conference among the ancient surgical props of Padua, I took Veronica to Venice, to take her mind off the recession and Justin (who embodies it). At station buffets, the Italians have a funny way of making you pay before even ordering the goods (which would have precluded comment on