Charmed life

Why am I so unlucky in love?

One of my exes is trying to get me arrested. I discovered this when I received an email from the Met Police saying that he had accused me of stealing his belongings. As he is not a British citizen, the nice policeman I spoke to said I need do nothing in response. I was puzzled,

Real life

Wild life

My father vs the killer lion

Laikipia, Kenya This month, in broad daylight on our Kenyan farm, a lioness mauled one of my bull calves. Before she could make a kill, a quick-witted herder intervened and drove the beast off. My son Rider loaded the injured calf into the pickup and brought it home, where he gently cleaned the tooth and

No sacred cows

The Tories have failed us over debanking – again

On Saturday morning, when I was helping Caroline prepare for a lunch party, I got an urgent request for help from the leader of a populist, right-wing campaigning group. His organisation had just been debanked. He had five days before the account was closed, during which time the bank would return the money it had

Dear Mary


The joy of Portuguese wines

There was a wonderful old boy called John – Sir John – Wordie, who was a quintessential member of the establishment. A barrister, he spent much of his time defusing controversies before they had boiled over. In that enterprise, he never sought publicity, finding it much easier to dispense wise advice if no one knew

Mind your language

Being asked to ‘bear with’ is unbearable

‘Bear with me,’ said my husband on the phone and then let out a loud roar. It was intended to be the sound of the bear with him. There are no circumstances in which that would be amusing. It is bad enough when people say ‘Bear with me’ and then spend unfathomable minutes trying to


Wildlife in West London

(after Al Alvarez) Skirmishes, furtive scuffling in the gardens,  furred burglaries. Unearthly wails of cats on heat. Behind the house, a strip of railway land where foxes drag their salvage from the street – the bramble-sheltered brood… Crows pick up the pieces,  dropping scraps of bone that suddenly materialize on balconies, on patios and paths. 


Pull back the carpeton last year’s compost.Amid the richness:ratholes, a snakeskin;the fetid carcassof a wounded muntjac. We grow our foodbetween such influences.The body incorporateswhat the mind refuses, so there’s a hintof rat and snakein all of us. Our kindsoft hearts springfrom moist darknesses,the wasted ribcage. ‘Om’ is a sacred syllable in Hinduism, mystically considered to

The Wiki Man

Why being anti-car is a luxury belief

It happened six years ago on a flight back from the United States. ‘Sir, I’m pleased to say you’ve been upgraded to first class.’ ‘Wonderful! Where would you like me to sit?’ ‘Anywhere you like, you’re the only passenger.’ The anti-car movement is idiotic – a luxury belief shared by deluded metropolitans For the next