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Luxury Goods: Pet parlours

We didn’t have ‘pets’ when I was little. We had dogs — gundogs. Working dogs that lived in outdoor kennels and ate great slabs of rotting meat straight from the butcher. Occasionally we dunked them in a tub full of eye-watering flea-killer. I do remember them being brushed, but roughly and only to dislodge stubborn

Luxury Goods: Spas

The intended heading for this piece was to have been ‘Spa Wars’, since the demand for luxury pampering in country-house-hotel surroundings seems insatiable. Three country-house-hotel spas have opened within half an hour’s drive of here (on the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire borders) in the last 18 months, and no expense spared. Even if you knew what thalassotherapy was,

Luxury Goods: Absolutely priceless

A couple of weeks ago I attended a reception in the Banqueting House on Whitehall to mark the opening of an exhibition by the American painter Cy Twombly at the Serpentine Gallery. A vast and lavish buffet was laid on tables down the length of Inigo Jones’s grandest room. Wealthy collectors drank champagne with Turner

Less is more

It’s time to lighten up about falling birthrates, says George Monbiot. The world will be a happier and better place with fewer people There is a group in North America — I am not joking — whose motto is ‘Back to the Pleistocene’. Its followers would like human society to revert not just to a

Sack them

For the 500 or so at the Thatcher jubilee dinner it was, if not the high point, certainly one of the more important. Having cheered themselves hoarse at the entry of the lady herself, and roared their joy at a gem of a speech by Norman Tebbit, the diners applauded Michael Howard. He said he

Trapped behind the wall

As the slaughter in the Holy Land continues, Emma Williams reports on the miseries caused by Israel’s security barrier, and wonders whether there is any way out of the cycle of violence Last week yet more children were slaughtered in the Holy Land. Four little Israeli girls and their pregnant mother were gunned down by