High life

High life | 8 February 2018

Gstaad For some strange reason there have been no #MeToo complaints around these parts. Some locals have grumbled about yours truly, and an interview I gave about this village to a Swiss daily, but although Harvey used to hang out here during Christmases past, no one’s come forward to claim rape. Is there something wrong

Low life

Low life | 8 February 2018

I picked up my grandson from his mother’s flat and noticed the change in him the second I clapped eyes on him. He was taller than when I had said goodbye to him a month ago, and his spirit seemed more conscious of itself. I also noticed that my devotion to him (lately inviting criticism

Real life

Real life | 8 February 2018

Why do people find it so hard to believe that a horse can be a psychopath? Not an obvious, screaming mad psychopath either. A brooding, deceptively quiet sort of psychopath who turns on a sixpence. I arrived at Tara’s field the other day to find one of the girls with a horse in the neighbouring

Wild life

Wild life | 8 February 2018

Laikipia I woke with the breath of a leopard a few feet from me as I lay in my bed. Before he came there were the sounds of Laikipia’s darkness: nightjars, insects, a wandering hyena. Then it all went abruptly silent and I heard him exhale, just on the other side of the bedroom door.

No sacred cows

These days, fat is a high-tech issue

I have a confession to make: I’m a yo-yo dieter. For the past ten years, I’ve lost a bit of weight in January and then spent the rest of the year putting it back on. Problem is, I’ve been adding more than I’ve been taking away, with the result that at the end of last

Spectator Sport

This Six Nations could be anyone’s

‘It’s never easy going to Rome,’ observed Anthony Watson after the traditional mauling of a hard-working but outgunned Italian side at the weekend. Eh? Well Watson is a brilliant winger (two tries in ten minutes no less) and a thoughtful and well-spoken credit to English rugby. But a difficult trip, Anthony? Sure the A23 to

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 8 February 2018

Q. I am at the age where parts of the body start to go wrong, and I have a minor but life-changing issue. I am in the process of telling my friends when I learn that one of them has a much more serious and life-threatening one. Should I mention my own lesser problem to


Tel Aviv it ain’t

Café Hampstead is a new café in — big reveal! — Hampstead, the gaudiest of the old villages on the hills around London. Hampstead was once, mysteriously, home to progressives too many to type; refugees from Belsize Park carrying their most precious back copies of the LRB in plastic sacks. Why did they live in

Mind your language


A range of book reviewers’ clichés was held up to mockery 60 years ago, in a letter by Jocelyn Brooke to The Spectator. Brooke (1908-66) was a strange man who thought he had found his vocation in the venereal disease branch of the Royal Army Medical Corps until he burst into authorship, publishing two books