High life

High life | 7 September 2017

After the heat in Greece, the Alps are cool and green and very comfortable. My sensei Richard Amos is over here and we squeezed two weeks of intensive karate training into three days. Nothing makes me feel better than the sense of total exhaustion after a hard day’s fighting. We do kihon, kata, and then

Low life

Low life | 7 September 2017

‘Have you ever thought of having some colour put in, love?’ said Julian as he shaved my neck with a razor and performed other small finishing touches with his scissor tips. I was sitting on a kitchen chair in his half-finished kitchen extension and while he worked I bowled underarm tennis balls to the schnauzer

Real life

Real life | 7 September 2017

Stefano the Albanian turned up in a brand new Audi off-roader, cutting quite the dash. He looked older, with some silver flecks in his black hair and beard that were rather distinguished. How to explain my predicament? It was tricky. I hadn’t been in touch since I’d asked him for a quote to renovate the

More from life

All four of my kids will learn to shoot

I spent Monday morning being taught how to use a shotgun at E.J. Churchill, a shooting ground in High Wycombe. If you’re a member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds you probably won’t approve, but it gets worse. I was with my friend Merlin Wright and we had taken our 12-year-old sons

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 7 September 2017

Q. Some rather flashy new neighbours of ours — I won’t mention their names as his will be familiar to a lot of your readers — asked my wife and me to lunch last week in their new barn as a dummy run for the cook they’ve employed for the shooting season. They were very


Thank Evans for good wine

There was an entirely forgotten leftist called Allen Ginsberg, a so-called beat poet (surely an oxymoron) who once produced a work entitled ‘Howl’. That was appropriate. It reads like a wolf on hallucinogens. The author whined that he had seen the best minds of his generation destroyed. ‘Best minds’: how would he have known? This

Mind your language

Go ballistic

I had always thought that to go ballistic was the same as to go nuclear, metaphorically. But the ballistic figure of speech had a rather different origin. I was glad to learn this before Mr Kim sends the balloon up. I did know, despite being a girl without the advantage of a proper classical education

The Wiki Man

Migration is complicated. Don’t pretend it’s not

I expect you’ve already noticed it, but in case you’ve been living in a cave or an economics faculty for the past ten years, I’ll repeat it. Goods are not like people. Goods only move wherever they are needed. They don’t come laden with an attachment to a homeland or a social network. Your Bosch