High life

Low life

Low life: The art of filling out form ESA50

‘Can you manage to plan, start and finish daily tasks?’ said a panic-stricken Simon, reading aloud from the Department of Work and Pensions ESA50 Limited Capability for Work form. He was struggling with Section 2, which was inviting him to describe his ‘mental, cognitive and intellectual functions’ by answering questions furnished with multiple choice answers

Real life

Real life: the taming of a shrewish mare

One of my favourite things to do is to visit the field where Tara, my bad-tempered chestnut hunter is retired because there, I know, I will find like-minded company. We are two obstreperous mares together. Never happy to concede defeat on the smallest of issues where a long, arduous battle might get us absolutely nowhere,

Wild life

Wild life: Leopard on a hot tin roof

A leopard has been on the rampage night after night. We know her because she often lurks in the woods behind the farmstead, between the beehives and the old long-drop hut. Very occasionally, at dusk, she’s spotted lying on the hot tin roof of the big water tank on the hill above the woods —

More from life

The thrill of the chase

I was in my garden office on Monday afternoon when I heard a loud noise behind me, as if someone had jumped over the back fence. Seconds later, a strange man walked past the window. I emerged gingerly from my office and found myself face to face with a giant. At first glance, he looked

Spectator Sport

Dear Mary


Tanya Gold reviews STK London

STK is a steakhouse at the bottom of the ME Hotel on the Aldwych. (This is a real name for a real hotel. The cult of individualism has finally reached its apogee in the hotel sense, and, if you are curious, it looks like a piece of St Tropez that fell off and hit the

Mind your language


Was Margaret Thatcher brought up in a grocery? I wouldn’t say so. The Americans would. I’d call her father’s shop in Grantham a grocer’s. He sold grocery. Yet I saw the Times refer to ‘her father’s grocery store’, which sounds doubly American. It’s not just Margaret Thatcher. The Daily Mail referred to Prince Harry befriending