High life

High life | 19 May 2012

Miami Beach I thought it a good time to visit, neither spring break debauchery nor fashionista pretence time. So I signed up yet again for the judo championships, trained very hard and flew down with four buddies hoping to stay in a family hotel near the water, a bit like Bogie stopping at a place

Low life

Low life | 19 May 2012

Listening to the BBC news and current affairs programmes, you’d think that Britain is a socialist republic. Which is odd because my entire extended family, on both my mother’s side (smallholders) and on my father’s (urban lower-middle class), is without exception monarchist conservative. From time to time there are rumours that somebody or other has

Real life

Real life | 19 May 2012

The foal is out of hospital and back home. To recap: the foal cost £600 and her first veterinary bill, sustained when she threw herself on top of a fence post, cost £768. That’s fine. I know horse owning makes no sense. I’m coming to the conclusion that life in general makes no sense. What

More from life

Status Anxiety: Parenting is a moral issue

When the government announced its new £5 million parenting project last week I thought I should offer to help. I have four children, after all, so know a thing or two about the subject. I sent a message via Twitter to the owner of the Parent Gym, one of the ­organisations involved in the scheme.

Long life | 19 May 2012

When I was about to start a weekend colour supplement for the Independent in 1988, I got a note from the poet James Fenton containing a list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ about what to put in it. The one that has stuck in my mind was to include no articles about Tuscany. This was very

Spectator Sport

Why I’m cheering for Bayern

Like modules at the Leveson inquiry, gut-wrenchingly exciting weekends of sport are coming along thick and fast now. But forget last weekend’s theatrics if you can, take a deep breath and get set for what truly will be one of the best days of sport in the year. Just before we do though, a brief

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 19 May 2012

Q. As chairman of the parish council, I am required, along with a local member of the aristocracy, to judge the best red, white and blue outfit and the best hat at the forthcoming village Diamond Jubilee celebration. The potential diplomatic pitfalls are legion. I have thought of saying that I have, during the occasion,


Carry on screaming

The Bread Street Kitchen is a big restaurant near the Mansion House, brought to you by Gordon Ramsay’s big rage; he is the man who, at one point or another, has owned 13 Michelin stars, millions of TV viewers and a turkey called ­Nigella, which he may or may not have murdered and made into

Mind your language


Pop Larkin from The Darling Buds of May won himself a place in the Oxford English Dictionary by saying things like: ‘Perfick wevver! You kids all right at the back there?’ So it was some surprise to find a couple of television advertisements mispronouncing perfect in quite a different way. They say the second syllable