High life

High Life | 19 July 2008

The sea surface is smooth and mirror-like, and from the deck of Bushido I scan the coastline for the mother and baby porpoises who live inside a blue-green grotto off Assos, the tiny village which clings to a small isthmus between the island and a huge, forested pine hill crowned by a ruined 15th-century fort.

Low life

Low Life | 19 July 2008

I rested my chin on my hand and watched the passing scenery all the way to London. For most of the journey the sky was filled with towering black clouds and from time to time rain smashed against the window. The train seemed to be racing just ahead of a deep, fast-moving depression travelling west

Real life

Real Life | 19 July 2008

Have you ever attempted to open the front door to your house by pointing your car key at it? Please say you have. I did it twice this week and what is worse it took me ages to work out why the door was not opening, despite frantic clicking of the Peugeot key in the

More from life

Status Anxiety | 19 July 2008

I was told at a very early stage in my writing career never to seek revenge on critics. If you get a poor review, you just have to take it on the chin. To write a letter of complaint to the publication in question — or, worse, punch the critic on the nose — is

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport | 19 July 2008

Grass-court tennis eh? A bit boring? Just serve and volley, ace, serve and volley? Well not any more. And sometimes old-style serve-return, bish-bosh, really did get a bit tedious. Go on, admit it. Obscure studies by people with a bit too much time on their hands proved that once you’ve factored in breaks between games,

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 19 July 2008

Q. I have edited a selection of letters which is to be published later this summer. It is more than likely that, as part of the promotion process, I shall be asked to sign a copy here and there. However, it is not really my book, but that of the distinguished and, alas, departed correspondent.

Mind your language

Mind your language | 19 July 2008

Although I do not smoke, I find my sympathies drawn more and more to persecuted smokers. Outside Victoria station an aggressive notice says: ‘It is against the law to smoke in these premises including under this canopy.’ Never mind that the canopy, really a porte-cochère, is open to the elements, with a broken roof-pane that