High life

High life | 16 February 2017

Gstaad One’s unpopularity on account of calling it a night diminishes in direct proportion to the severity of the next morning’s hangover. I was literally booed by Geoffrey Moore and co. for asking the wife of a friend to drive me 200 yards to my chalet. Co., not Geoffrey, had other plans for the lady,

Low life

Low life | 16 February 2017

A deep frost in the winter of 1821–22 killed the orange trees in Nice. The Anglican minister to the English colony, the Reverend Lewis Way, appealed to his congregation for relief funds to provide work for redundant orange-pickers. The money raised was spent on the construction of six miles of coast road, the redundant orange-pickers

Real life

Real life | 16 February 2017

Fine, so I got it completely wrong. It turns out the sale of my flat was not held up by a wiggle in the garden, but by a kink in the kitchen. This kink in the kitchen is far more serious than a wiggle in the garden. I should have realised that, the buyer’s solicitor

More from life

The turf | 16 February 2017

The drumbeats are quickening ahead of the Cheltenham Festival and at this stage there really is no substitute for going racing. Some might have ducked Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle meeting on Saturday because of the bitter wind, which made a hot-water bottle the most prized object on the winner’s rostrum, and because the other two key

Can I bear to sack the digital babysitter?

I was astonished to discover in conversation with another dad last week that he and his wife intended to introduce a screen ban over half term. Not limiting their children to something reasonable like two hours a day. But a blanket ban. How on earth will they cope — and by ‘they’ I mean him and

Wine Club

Wine Club 18 February

Tanners have been around since 1842 and certainly know their onions. Both Decanter and the International Wine Challenge named them ‘Large Independent Wine Retailer of the Year’ in 2016. I mean to say, how lucky are we to have them as one of The Spectator’s partners? Their sales director, Robert Boutflower, put together a list

Spectator Sport

Breathtaking and brilliant

Perfection in sport: unattainable, but sometimes you can come close. Moments, people, actions you never tire of watching: Roger Federer’s backhand; Virat Kohli’s cover drive; Mo Farah’s acceleration off the final bend or little Lionel Messi dribbling through a crowded penalty area as if his opponents were shadows; Fred Couples’s sensuous golf swing. Last weekend

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 16 February 2017

Q. My husband and I like to go to concerts and recitals but he is an artist with a very annoying habit of sketching the musicians in performance. The scratch of the pencil and his hand movements are distracting and I worry about his annoying other people nearby. Sometimes it is too dark for him


American English

Ralph’s Coffee & Bar is in the Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store on Regent Street. It is rare that fashion admits food exists and when it does, it usually does something insane with it, like when the Berkeley Hotel celebrated fashion week by inventing a shoe biscuit, so you could eat your shoe. But Ralph

Mind your language


‘It is rocket science,’ said my husband waving a pinnately lobed leaf snatched from his restaurant salad. He doesn’t much like rocket salad and wishes all supplies had perished along with the lettuces of Spain. So as a distraction I tried telling him that rocket leaves were connected with street urchins, caterpillars, caprices and hedgehogs.