High life

High life | 13 August 2011

On board S/Y Bushido According to C.M. Bowra, gold had a divine association with the Ancient Greeks, being more than just a symbolic value, as when Pindar wished to stress the splendour of something he called it golden, whether it was a victor’s crown of wild olives or the opening of a song. Gold stood

Low life

Low life | 13 August 2011

I don’t think any of us were really that interested in being shown over his 14th-century chateau, and very quickly it was clear that neither did he really want to show it to us. But a personally guided tour of his chateau was on our itinerary, and presumably a fee had been agreed, perhaps when

Real life

Real life | 13 August 2011

Looking for ways to de-stress and cure my eczema has become my new obsession. It is very, very stressful. It often involves hurtling to the corner shop to buy chocolate. I was doing this the other day when I happened upon a little spa next to the Spar. It was called the TenSixTwo treatment rooms.

Wild life

Wild life | 13 August 2011

Indian Ocean On Hassan’s dhow, shaped like Vasco da Gama’s caravel, I can forget about dry land for a fortnight of holiday. If I could, I’d give it all up and set sail for the outer islands — to Aldabra, to the Chagos, to Socotra. And then I realise I am beached without my old

More from life

Status Anxiety: Baseball bat to the ready

At first, I thought he was the site foreman. He was in his mid-40s, well-built, standing in front of a building site on Madeley Road in Ealing. This leafy suburb in west London, which is about two miles from my house in Acton, was the scene of some of the worst rioting on Monday night

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 13 August 2011

Q. We live in New Zealand and under our ‘business immigration scheme’ a delightful Korean family has moved into the neighbourhood. They are required to buy a business and provide local employment opportunities. Accordingly, they have bought a café, but they do not seem to have any knowledge of the hospitality trade, nor much English.


Drink: Vintage reminiscence

Ou sont les bouteilles d’antan? With the onset of middle life, a good bottle can take on a melancholy aspect. Ou sont les bouteilles d’antan? With the onset of middle life, a good bottle can take on a melancholy aspect. The other day, I was lucky enough to be at the drinking of a ’67

Mind your language

Mind your language | 13 August 2011

‘Who,’ I wondered to myself as I folded away my husband’s pyjamas, which he’d left on the hall floor (why the hall floor?), ‘is this woman sprinkling glottal stops like currants into a Welsh pancake mix and between each one inserting a cliché?’ It was Sally Bercow, the cheery wife of the Speaker of the

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: My other car is an iPad

A fortnight ago, I wrote about the arbitrary metrics applied to train travel — and how a trivial reduction in journey time, a measure with little relationship to human pleasure or productivity, has been used to justify the insane cost of a new rail link to Birmingham A fortnight ago, I wrote about the arbitrary