Freud famously asked: what do women want? And I think that after two marriages, a dozen long-term relationships and a thousand-and-one dates, I’ve discovered the answer to that great mystery: they want a man with a beautiful house.
In my twenties I thought that what women wanted was a man who was funny, intelligent, sensitive and kind. A man who would be faithful to them and a good and caring father to their children.
My friend recently met a man on a dating app and went out for dinner with him. When he arrived, the man announced that he didn’t drink. Nothing unusual about that: plenty of young men are abstemious these days. His next declaration was more surprising: he didn’t eat. Instead, he lived off something called ‘Huel’.
Huel — an abbreviation of ‘human fuel’ — is a type of powdered food made of oats, peas, flax and rice.
It is a tragedy that the party that has ruined Zimbabwe, led by a man who was one of the chief perpetrators of its misery, has managed by hook or by crook to win a fresh mandate. The narrow margin of 0.8 per cent by which Emmerson Mnangagwa secured his victory in last week’s presidential contest will inevitably raise suspicions of foul play. But he will almost certainly be given the benefit of the doubt, not least by the British government.
Baseball is the best American sport. It’s great because it’s timeless — it exists in a space beyond time. Unlike other major sports, baseball requires no clock. It’s a ballet of set pieces — at-bats, walks, strikes, balls — and bursts of motion. The grace of a swing, the artistry of a double play — none of these run to the ceaseless demands of a clock.
It’s a balance between individual achievement and team play.
A sea of bright yellow flowers in a sun- drenched meadow… what could be more idyllic? Sadly, all that glisters in the English countryside is most definitely not gold.
Ragwort. A few stray stems of this iconic weed growing in a field of grass is enough to draw a stream of expletives from any horse owner or cattle farmer. The daisy-like weed, which flowers from late June into early autumn, is highly toxic and spreads like wildfire.
When we first moved to the Languedoc, the less poncey part of the south of France nearly 20 years ago, there were two kinds of rosé. The first, piscine rosé as the French dubbed it, was thin, pale and uninteresting. It was best served in a large glass full of ice cubes, preferably around a swimming pool by a tanned French girl in a bikini. The second, darker in hue and fuller of flavour, carried the scent of the garrigue, thyme, lavender and rosemary.
If ever you find yourself bored and with 15 minutes to spare, I recommend looking up Pornhub’s annual report, the closest thing you will get to a statistical breakdown of the planet’s libido. Here you will discover that the average visit to Pornhub lasts nine minutes 59 seconds; that the most popular time to watch porn is a Sunday evening; and that sexual tastes for the most part tend to follow cultural lines, with English-speakers prizing lesbian material most highly, and eastern Europeans on the whole preferring anal.
You know where you are with a British street name. I don’t mean literally. I mean there’s a tacit humility to our islands’ hodonyms: they are short, simple and unpretentious. Not for us the long-winded commemorations of national heroes or local worthies: no Avenue du Révérend Père Corentin Cloarec or Burgemeester Baron van Voerst van Lyndenstraat.
Our street names are soundest away from the city. The High Street is thriving: it’s the commonest name in England and Wales, while Main Street leads the field in Scotland.