High life

Follow the leader

New York At an outdoor luncheon party in Sussex celebrating Willy Shawcross’s birthday some years ago, I asked his then 95-year-old father whom he found the most interesting man at Nuremberg. ‘Goering,’ was the monosyllabic reply. ‘I mean from both sides,’ I said. ‘Goering,’ said Lord Shawcross. He later told me how the Nazi would

Low life

Opportunity knocks

I met Combo at dawn. I was standing on the Malawian shore of the lake watching the sun rise over the mountains in Mozambique and she came and stood wordlessly beside me and we watched together. After a while I offered her a swig from the bottle I was holding. ‘No,’ she said, without taking

Real life

Bazaar practices

The recession has been a huge disappointment to me. It’s the lack of haggling I find so hard to come to terms with. When the great financial crisis began we were told we were going to get all sorts of eye-watering bargains. Everything was negotiable, it was said. Even the cheese counter at the supermarket

More from life

I must be prevented from becoming a Neighbourhood Champion at all costs

I was slightly alarmed by the news that Harrow Council is recruiting 2,000 residents to join a network of ‘Neighbourhood Champions’. Their job will be to keep an eye out for evidence of graffiti, fly-tipping, littering and excessive noise, posting tip-offs on an anonymous website. What if the scheme is successful and other councils follow

Spectator Sport

Tales from the riverside

Amid the great and the glamorous sipping champagne at Sotheby’s recently when Sebastian Faulks launched his new novel, A Week in December, one diminutive figure caught the eye as he moved effortlessly among the mini-burgers and drizzled tuna, exchanging a pleasantry here, a smile there, chatting to teenage boys, rock stars, highbrow literary types and

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 14 November 2009

Q. A good friend and respected colleague, a QC who crossed into commerce, has of late enjoyed some success in that field, becoming chairman of two significant companies. This has buoyed his self-esteem which was not previously especially low in the water. Recently the FT saw fit to profile him in their ‘Power Player’ series,

Mind your language

Mind your language | 14 November 2009

Two rather odd pronunciations to have gathered ground this year are of the words women and lieutenant. I think I heard Evan Davies say lootenant the other morning, though it might have been a stumble. My husband does not like the pronunciation lootenant. He thinks it is an Americanism. It certainly is these days; the