Featured articles


Bad grammar

It is almost mandatory, if you want to discuss grammar schools, to swap personal histories. Here’s mine: I am the beneficiary of three generations of social mobility, three generations of academic selection. My grandfather won a free scholarship to a public school (Christ’s Hospital) and left school at 16: his family needed him to work.

Trump’s forgotten people

The fit, or fugue, that Hillary Clinton suffered during a 9/11 memorial service in Manhattan on Sunday left mysteries in its wake. One concerns Mrs Clinton’s apparently serious medical problem. Another concerns her opponent Donald Trump, who appears eager to run her campaign for her while she convalesces. When felled, Mrs Clinton was two weeks

Hush money

The new consumer obsession of my generation isn’t white goods, trainers or designer labels. It is — whisper it — quiet. We, the under-30s, are almost allergic to noise, so much so that many of us would happily pay extra to sit in a quiet carriage, or in the café seat furthest from the speakers, or

Archers abusers

It’s been going on for months now and I must make a confession. I secretly endure a nightly battering in the privacy of my home; it’s been relentless, torturous and psychologically damaging. But before anyone rushes to rescue me or phones a government helpline, fearing I am the victim of some dastardly wife beater —

Aga can’t

Earlier this year my partner paid several hundred thousand pounds for an Aga. There’s no other way of putting it. A major cause of her excitement about our new house was the presence in its kitchen of the whacking great oven. I, on the other hand, was unsure how I felt about it — Aga-nostic,


Yemen Notebook

Most nights Saudi bombers fly low over the Yemeni capital of Sanaa dealing out random destruction. High up in the Yemeni mountains, Sanaa claims to be the oldest inhabited city in the world. Its old city, a Unesco world heritage site, is at least as unique, ancient and priceless as any western city. Many of

Notes on...

London’s lost rivers

I found my first of London’s many lost rivers when I walked across Holborn Viaduct, looked down at the sweep of Farringdon Road below and realised that it had to be the path of a river, not just a road. Indeed, I was soon to learn that the river Fleet runs directly beneath, coursing down