High life

High Life | 10 September 2011

To Aix-en-Provence for a young friend’s wedding to a celebrity DJ in a beautiful tent in an olive grove. A short chat with the beautiful Kate Moss and her hubby, followed by some heavy boozing under the disapproving eyes of my two children and their mother. Aix is a beautiful old town with many parts

Low life

Low Life | 10 September 2011

My sister got married twice last week, both times to the same bloke, thank goodness. She was married on the Thursday by the state in a register office, and on the Saturday she and Stan stood in front of an Anglican clergyman in a church and asked God to graciously add His blessing to that

Real life

Real Life | 10 September 2011

The experts keep telling me I’ve got to put her to bed and leave her, but I can’t do it. I know I’m making a rod for my own back but when she starts crying in the night I get up and bring her into my bed. I try to sleep when she sleeps, but

Wild life

Wild Life | 10 September 2011

Aidan Hartley’s Wild Life  Nairobi My friend Philip Coulson was shot at midnight while driving home after the theatre in Nairobi recently. He had slowed down to go over some rumble strips when a white car halted in front of him. ‘A man got out and I could see in silhouette that he had a

More from life

Status Anxiety: Emasculation by proxy

I’m writing this the day before the West London Free School is due to open and it’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve been looking forward to this moment for two years. The thought of our first cohort of pupils streaming through the gates, resplendent in their WLFS blazers, has sustained me through many a

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 10 September 2011

Q. I was amused by your correspondent ‘J.P.’ (16 April) who complained of her daughter-in-law’s ‘bosom flashing’ at dinner parties. A similar thing happened at a house party in France this year: one of the female guests wore an open shirt so loosely knotted that ‘J.P.’ would have been even more shocked. The woman opposite


Drink: Rules of the game

We should all eat humbly. There is no sense in foraying to far-flung continents in search of fancy victuals. We should be content with the near-at-hand: the harvests of our fields, hills, rivers, seas and moors. The Chinaman has his bowl of rice, the Irishman his cauldron of potatoes. At this time of year, our

Mind your language

Concise Oxford Dictionary

‘Does it have fart ?’ asked my husband, when he saw the centenary facsimile of The Concise Oxford Dictionary (£20). His question reminded me of the woman who looked for rude words in Dr Johnson’s Dictionary and then congratulated him on omitting them. In 1911, when H.W. Fowler and his brother F.G. Fowler (who was to

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: The billionaires who no one seems to hate

Two interesting news items coincided the other week Two interesting news items coincided the other week. The growing debate about the relatively light tax burden shouldered by the massively rich and the partial retirement of Steve Jobs. One dog failed to bark in the night. No one, as far as I can see, dared name