High life

High life | 16 November 2017

What is left to say after the church shooting in the Home of the Depraved? Those killed in Texas included a toddler, several children and eight members of one family at prayer. It is almost too hard to fathom. I’ve been here for six weeks and three mass-murder sprees have taken place, two perpetrated by

Low life

Low life | 16 November 2017

At ten to eleven we filed outside the church and assembled in the graveyard around a small cenotaph commemorating the dead of two wars with a dozen unmistakably local names. As we shuffled out, we hoped that the rain would hold off — no offence of course to any of the names on the cenotaph

Real life

Real life | 16 November 2017

The incident I am about to recount I make no judgment about, other than that I believe it tells us where we are in the cycle of civilisation and that it is helping me orientate myself. A friend of mine was walking her dogs at the same beauty spot I walk my spaniels, when a

More from life

It’s a jungle in there, Stanley

Crikey Moses! Stanley Johnson has been cast as the token pensioner in the new series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! At 77, he will be 27 years older than the next oldest person in the jungle-based reality show, 50-year-old ex-footballer Dennis Wise. He cheerfully admits he has never watched the programme before,

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 16 November 2017

Q. My husband, who used to be away on business most of the time, now works from home and has become bossy and dictatorial. He spends a good deal of his day advising me how the house could be better run. This is bringing tensions into our previously harmonious relationship. How can I put a


Gender in fluid form

I have lost faith in British boyhood. In mixed schools, young males have failed to seize an opportunity that previous generations would have killed for. Imagine the scene, and to add piquancy, let us locate it in a headmistress’s study. Some hulking youth, a pillar of the rugger scrum, who already needs to shave almost

Mind your language

Call out

The inventor of the verse form known as the clerihew, Edmund Clerihew Bentley, had a way with this seemingly simple vehicle. Take this example: ‘Sir Christopher Wren / Said, ‘I am going to dine with some men. / If anybody calls / Say I am designing St Paul’s.’ My interest just now is with call.

The Wiki Man

Too many facts get in the way of truth

One dietary fad that never made sense to me was the campaign against the consumption of eggs. Now call me an old Darwinist, but here we are having spent a few million years evolving into a bald monkey with prehensile thumbs, perfectly optimised as an egg-stealing machine, and yet the digestion of an omelette somehow