High life

High life | 8 March 2018

Gstaad The muffled sound of falling snow is ever-present. It makes the dreary beautiful and turns the bleak into magic. Happiness is waking up to a winter wonderland. From where I am, I can’t hear the shrieks of children sledding nearby but I can see the odd off-piste skier and the traces they leave. I

Low life

Low life | 8 March 2018

Earbuds in. Speed walking to Grant Lazlo’s ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’. A corridor, a left fork, a moving walkway, a rack of free newspapers — from which I extracted an Evening Standard without stopping — and here, sooner than I’d imagined, was Gate 52. It was a quarter past five in the evening. The

Real life

Real life | 8 March 2018

‘I bet Brian May isn’t lying on his back in a field shelter wondering how long it’s going to take for the snow to cover him and whether the horses will just poo right on top of his frozen head,’ I thought. Then, groaning in agony, another annoying thought surfaced in the annals of my

Wild life

Wild life | 8 March 2018

Laikipia Off Madagascar the other day the Indian Ocean gave birth to a little storm called 11S. As its gyre turned clockwise over the sea, 11S gained momentum until it was a huge vortex of thunder and lightning christened Tropical Cyclone Dumazile. Like a naughty lover yanking away the shower curtain so that everything in

No sacred cows

We’re being destroyed by tribalism

Amy Chua’s latest book, Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, is a difficult read for anyone who is concerned about the current state of British politics. Chua is an American law professor and her previous book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, was about the effectiveness of the Asian approach to bringing

Spectator Sport

Knighting Wiggins so early was just asking for trouble

The incomparable Roger Bannister, whose passing marks the end of our links with a vanished age of sporting innocence, could have been knighted in 1954, such were his achievements in that year. He was eventually knighted 21 years later, in 1975: he could have been knighted for services to medicine or athletics, or both. We

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 8 March 2018

Q. Recently I held a party at which some people were meeting each other for the first time. One social-climbing couple, who I do not know well and invited only to pay them back for their own recent party, subsequently emailed to ask for the contact details of the most influential and elevated of my


Italian without the heat or drama

Jilly Cooper’s fictional hero Rupert Campbell-Black has ‘never been to Hammersmith’. I have but I wish I hadn’t. I love the Westway because it takes you away from Hammersmith. Even so, it possesses the River Café — it is not a café — a famous and influential Italian restaurant. It was ten when Tony Blair

Mind your language

Wrap up warm

In June 1873, Oswald Cockayne shot himself. He was in a state of melancholy, having been dismissed by King’s College School, after 32 years’ service, for discussing matters avoided by other masters when they appeared in Greek and Latin passages, ‘in direct opposition to the feeling of the age’. No improper acts had occurred. Cockayne