Low life

Hotel reservations

We’d had a tiff in the Strand and I’d stormed off. It was late. I didn’t have anywhere else to stay the night, and I live in Devon, so I had to storm off halfway across Britain to get home. I caught the last train out of Paddington by the skin of my teeth. Once

More from life

Your Problems Solved | 12 February 2005

Dear Mary… Q. I sent a thank-you letter for dinner to a couple whom I know only slightly. In the thank-you letter, I asked them to dinner. I have had no reply and the date has come and gone. Does this mean that they didn’t get the thank-you letter — in which case they will


One of Ian McEwan’s familiar set-piece exuberances in his acclaimed new novel Saturday — ‘undoubtedly his best’: Anita Brookner, The Spectator, 29 January — has neurosurgeon hero Perowne indulging in an intensely competitive game of squash with anaesthetist Strauss. The doc plays each desperately combative rally on the tightrope of his own mortality, as if

Mind your language

Mind Your Language | 12 February 2005

Wednesday was the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, and it was also the Chinese New Year, the first day of the ‘Year of the Cockerel — Year 4702 in the Chinese calendar’ as a site on the Internet had it. The cockerel? What’s wrong with the cock? The answer is obvious, and so obvious,