High life

The healing power of the Hamptons

Southampton, Long Island These are peripatetic times for the poor little Greek boy, up to the Hamptons for some sun-seeking among Wasp types, and then down to the nation’s capital for the memorial service of that wonderful humorist P.J. O’Rourke. By all means take the following with a grain of salt, but even 800 million

Low life

It is time for me to ‘get right with the Lord’

‘But you look so well!’ How many times have I heard that lately. Kindly meant by most, but for a few it’s outrageous, after all they have heard or read about my health, and they feel cheated of the mushrooms growing out of the side of my head that they’d been hoping for. Either way

Real life

Why I don’t do WhatsApp

If I could ban one question ever being asked of me again it would be: ‘Are you on WhatsApp?’ I don’t know how many times I’ve answered this in the negative, 57,983 times at least, but the question just never stops being asked. Nobody wants to use even a fraction of a penny of the

More from life

Why you should never buy scotch eggs

One of the perils of being a recipe writer is that people regularly ask me why I bother making things from scratch, because ‘You can buy that in the supermarket’. Now, let’s put aside the obvious question – do they think I’m not aware of supermarkets? – and engage with the issue. I love supermarket

No sacred cows

My wine-fuelled mini break

For Christmas Caroline bought me a ‘Deluxe Gift Experience’ at Chapel Down, the UK’s leading winery. I say ‘me’, but it was actually a present for her too since it was a ‘couples’ package. For £490 we got a private tour of the vineyard, a wine–tasting session, dinner for two in the Chapel Down restaurant,

Dear Mary


Mind your language

Why should Turkey be allowed to change its name?

Turkey has told the UN it wants to be called Türkiye. Even when it is written in capitals, it would still like the little dot over the i, thank you, as İ. Exports will now bear the label ‘Made in Türkiye’ instead of ‘Made in Turkey’. Turkey is of course a name for a delicious


June (after Hugo)

In summer, when light’s fled, narcotic scents are poured out from ten thousand blooms; we doze with shut eyes but ears which only half-close, immured by sleep of a strange transparence.   Soft shadows and the stars subtler, less bright; vague radiance tints that eternal hall, and the sweet pale dawn, awaiting her call, seems


for Gail McConnell   I How much of what we scribble down survives – Sappho’s miraculous bits and pieces, Dialect words for kitchen utensils, See-through dresses, moonbeams – somebody At a busy street corner advising Where to shop for chickpeas and mascara.   II Let blank spaces between parentheses Be annotated thus by me and

The Wiki Man

Working from home could have been the reset we needed

‘It is vital that we see a return to face-to-face meetings to foster the dynamic collaboration that creates breakthrough ideas.’ All true, I’m sure. But what you’re describing here isn’t an office: it’s a pub. The same goes for ‘team-bonding’. Placing a lot of people in an open-plan office doesn’t really form a close-knit team

The turf

How modesty triumphed in the Derby

In the absence on her Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty, such an avid Derby attender in the past, and following the death just days before of the legendary Lester Piggott, it could have been a low-key, insignificant Derby. Instead, a truly impressive victory for the favourite, Desert Crown, turned it into a different kind of