High life

High life | 16 March 2017

At a chic dinner party last week, a friendly chow as big and black as a dog can be without being a bear sniffed a lady’s bum during pre-dinner drinks. I happened to be standing behind the lady and she raised her hand in anger. ‘It was Bessie the dog,’ I stammered. ‘What is wrong

Low life

Low life | 16 March 2017

After circuiting Spain by train, I went east to Italy, stopping on the way at the French border town of Menton. Until the first world war, Menton hosted an English colony of 5,000 residents, two Anglican churches, a lending library and an English-language newspaper, the Monaco and Menton News. The dry, sheltered climate also attracted

Real life

Real life | 16 March 2017

Someone has given the builder boyfriend an iPhone and things will never be the same. Until now, he has always had a ‘rubbish’ phone and I have always been able to get hold of him. Even though I have a blasted iPhone myself, at least one of us used to have a communications device that

More from life

The turf | 16 March 2017

If the championship for training jumpers went to a set of gallops rather than to a trainer it would not be Paul Nicholls’s Ditcheat precipice nor Nicky Henderson’s historic Seven Barrows facilities outside Lambourn or even Colin Tizzard’s Venn Farm on the Dorset border in the lead: the prize would go to the two stiff

The weird ways in which people avoid cleaning up after their dogs

One of the most important debates in Britain’s history took place in Westminster earlier this week. The issue was absolutely critical to our future and will affect not just the current inhabitants of these islands, but future generations too. I’m talking, of course, about the discussion in Westminster Hall on Tuesday night about how best

Wine Club

Wine Club 18 March

I’m going to fess up right from the off and say that, yes, you’re right, we’ve offered two of these wines several times before. But they simply shone in our tasting and refused to be ignored. You loved them last time, dear reader, and these vintages are even better. The other four are crackers, too.

Spectator Sport

Was it football or just mutimillionaires cheating?

Few sporting events in history have been greeted with such swivel-eyed, table-pounding hysteria as Barcelona’s comeback to overturn a 4-0 deficit against poor Paris St-Germain in the Champions League. Brilliant though it was, was it football or just another exercise in multimillionaires cheating? Luis Suárez clearly dived for the fifth goal, and should have been

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 16 March 2017

Q. Living in a large house in the country within striking distance of a motorway, we get a lot of people calling in on their way elsewhere. We love it. We are particularly glad to see one busy and successful friend who is often passing and also needs a bed. The problem is he is


Norse code

Aquavit is a ‘uniquely Nordic–style’ restaurant in the St James’s Market development between Regent Street and the Haymarket. This development — a pleasingly neutral word — is seriously misnamed, for there is nothing of the market about St James’s Market which seems, rather, to have stripped itself of the ordinary bustle of life; it is

Mind your language

Meet with

Don’t tell my husband, but I have been having doubts. (He never reads this column, so our secret is safe.) The doubt is about meet with. I always regarded it is a pleonasm, and a rebarbative one, being of American origin. Theresa May made a mark, one way or another, by meeting President Trump. She