High life

My last dance saloon

Gstaad A heavy snowfall diverted 40-odd private jets from landing in Saanen airport, thus the one per cent of the one per cent who came to Gstaad for a grand wedding last weekend used conventional methods of travel. Actually, it was more of the 100th of one per cent whom lefties complain about, 650 of

Low life

Rolling back the years in a stretched Hummer

My first ride in a stretch Hummer. I haven’t lived, I now realise. The prodigious, ridiculous thing, tricked out in multicoloured neon piping, drew up outside the pub where we were getting stoked. I was privileged to be invited by Trev to his niece’s 18th birthday celebration in a nightclub. It was very much a

Real life

Finding a job for my cocker spaniel

Seeing a poodle on the London Underground wearing a red vest with the words ‘Diabetes Medical Dog’ has given me an idea. I have been trying to think of a job for my working cocker spaniel. Currently she is employed one day a week during the shooting season, picking up pheasants. She likes the work

More from life

My battle with Michael Gove’s Blob

Michael Gove has been under fire this week for ‘sacking’ Sally Morgan as chair of Ofsted. You’d think he’d be within his rights not to re-appoint her, given that she’s a former aid of Tony Blair’s and her three-year term has come to an end. But no. This has become Exhibit A in the latest

Women simply don’t understand sport’s importance

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was once challenged with the story that for their wedding anniversary treat he had taken his wife to a Rochdale match. ‘Sheer nonsense,’ he replied. ‘It was her birthday. Would I have got married during the football season? And anyway it was Rochdale Reserves.’ Shankly may have taken it to extremes,

Local protests don’t stop windfarms. Subsidy cuts do

Here in the valley of the River Tove in south Northamptonshire my chickens are laying copiously, my ducks are quacking loudly, and my Jack Russell, Polly, is yapping gaily in celebration of a great victory: the Spanish energy company, which for more than three years has been threatening to desecrate this pleasant bit of countryside

Spectator Sport

Dear Mary


Lanes of London is dining for Martians

Lanes of London serves street food to people who hate streets; that is, it exists to soothe the still-curious mouths of lazy, wealthy paranoiacs. This is the character of the dishonest age: you can ride in a gondola in Las Vegas, ski down a mountain in Dubai, visit a wizard’s castle in Watford Junction, and

Mind your language

Lumpen’s journey from Marxism to nonsense

A publisher, Kevin Mayhew, has written to The Tablet, which is not a computer journal but a weekly magazine of interest to Catholics, complaining that the newly revised translation of the Mass is ‘lumpen, difficult and odd’. What would you think he meant by lumpen? Or try this, from a recent review in the TLS



Whatever savants say, the world is flat, not round; the ships that crowd the bay are for its limit bound. Their cargoes likewise, all consigned to one address, at the world’s waterfall plunge into nothingness. The brightwork, the white sails unfurled against the sky, the million knots and nails for such a voyage, why?