High life

The TV show that rots young minds

How can I phrase it without sounding pompous? When very talented people dine together, it sometimes turns into a contest of wills and wits. Polite conversation, a French speciality whereby you say nothing in very many words, takes a back seat. When talent’s around, look for withering responses and brain-jolting verbal virtuosity. I recently spent

Low life

Hell is an expat dinner party

I just don’t understand it. Emigrating from Britain to France is a big step. Shifting from one culture to another takes courage and enterprise. Especially if you are of maturer years. But let’s assume it’s now or never and you follow through with it. You look for a house in France, buy one, go through

Real life

More from life

Wine Club

Wine Club 7 December

We’ve Christmas firmly in our sights this week. I’ve written many times here and elsewhere about suffering from that debilitating festive condition known as CADDAD — Christmas Affected Doom, Depression and Despondency — and about how the only known cure is a regular supply of fine vino spaced generously throughout the holiday season. Well, I

No sacred cows

Dear Mary


Politics of a certain vintage – and wine to match

I wonder how they do things now at Tory headquarters. For the ’79 election, the preparations had been completed weeks in advance. Press conferences had been planned on the basis of a four-week campaign, press releases drafted and shadow ministers told when they would be needed in London to go on the platform. Then the

Mind your language

What exactly is a narwhal?

A point that many people mentioned amid the horror and heroism of the attack at London Bridge was the enterprising use of a narwhal tusk taken from the wall of Fishmongers’ Hall to belabour the murderous knifeman. I am surprised to find that the first person known to use narwhal in English was good old

The Wiki Man