High life

The roots of America’s unhappiness

New York An American columnist whose writing I used to enjoy until his bosses signalled to him that activism is more important than journalism recently reported that Americans are unhappier now than they have ever been. Especially in places that voted for The Donald. Apparently, a pollster found that Trump got the most votes in

Low life

I dropped a morphine capsule in my Moscow Mule

A dear friend came to stay for two nights. Could I be persuaded, wondered he and Catriona, on the first morning, to venture out to a restaurant for lunch? Descending the stairs to welcome guests these days takes a bit of effort. Bare feet, boney ankles, flapping pyjama bottoms; the guests look up in fascinated

Real life

I have been locked out of my pension

With only five to ten more years to work out how to log in to my pension plan I need to get a move on. The Fidelity website is so impenetrable to someone like me that, aged 50, I fear I will have run out of time to get access to ‘planviewer’ by the time

More from life

The ultimate American comfort food: how to make meatloaf

Meatloaf has some obstacles to overcome: it has an unprepossessing appearance, and an uninspiring, slightly off-putting name, which it shares with the famous singer. And it wasn’t a compliment when it was given to him: the singer’s father took one look at his newborn son and said he looked like ‘nine pounds of ground chuck’,

Wine Club

Wine Club: mix and match, magnums and more from Tanners

Robert Boutflower of Tanners is a good, kind, generous man. All he and we want is your happiness and so, mindful of the wretched economic situation the twits in charge have landed us in and the ghastly spectre of dread Christmas on the horizon (my words, not his), he put up a deliciously varied selection

No sacred cows

The case against climate change reparations

I was a little disappointed by Boris Johnson’s argument against Britain paying reparations for the damage done to developing countries by climate change. Yes, he acknowledged at Cop27, Britain was the first country to industrialise and, as a result, ‘people in the UK have put an awful lot of carbon into the atmosphere’. But we

Dear Mary


The wartime roots of Italian Pinot Noir

Wine-making can have a tragic dimension, and rarely more so than with Italian Pinot Nero: that is, Pinot Noir. It is often made amid blood-soaked landscapes, where tragedy regularly arose out of pretensions to grandeur. If you wish to read an overview of modern Italian history in order to understand why, the place to start

Mind your language

How Kipling invented ‘invasion of privacy’

Sir Keir Starmer told his party that Fritz Hippler (1909-2002), in his film Der ewige Jude (The Eternal Jew), released in 1940, juxtaposed footage of swarming rats and Jewish men hurrying through the ghetto of Lodz. In the same year, the Handbook of British Birds, edited by H.F. Witherby, noted the habitat of the slender-billed



The first, essential task: repudiate your parents. Reject their values and advice. Make clear they have no right to legislate.   There will be rows, of course, but that’s the price.  The later task: reject the youthful you. Remove the smirk from that conceited face. It may take tens of years to see this through. 

The Wiki Man

The allure of ‘delight qualities’

If you were to ask which single business concept deserves to be more widely known, I would be hard-pressed to find a better answer than the Kano model. Developed in the 1980s by Dr Noriaki Kano at the Tokyo University of Science, it is not only self-evidently true, it also provides a simple framework to

The turf

My Twelve to Follow over jumps

We all tend to put a value on what we haven’t got. Talking to a West Indian friend, Mrs Oakley, a foodie to her core, envied her the fresh pineapple, mangoes and bananas of her Caribbean childhood compared with our post-war canned fruit. ‘Oh no,’ said her friend, ‘it was the rare canned fruit treats