High life

High life | 17 November 2016

New York   The only thing worse than a sore loser, I suppose, is a sore winner, but thank God we don’t run into too many of those. Thirty years ago, The Spectator and I lost a libel case that cost the then proprietor and yours truly a small fortune. As it turned out, after

Low life

Low life | 17 November 2016

The day after the American people applied a very welcome touch on the brakes to the Enlightenment juggernaut, I went for a walk with my brother, who the day before had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Which is a crying shame because three years ago, after I had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, he had

Real life

Real life | 17 November 2016

The Israeli chef and I have become firm friends since he moved out of my flat. He has his own place now, and is trying to find a job. I take him horse riding at the weekends. On the way down the A3 he asks me all sorts of questions about his new life in

Wild life

Wild life | 17 November 2016

 Aero Club of East Africa   The world looked so clean and untroubled during the flight in Bob’s light aircraft to George’s memorial at the Aero Club of East Africa. It was a relief to get away from the farm for a few hours. On 27 October a mob of 300 Samburu warriors armed with

More from life

Long life | 17 November 2016

I started watching The Crown, the £100-million television series on the early years of the Queen’s reign, on Netflix but turned it off during the second episode because I couldn’t bear the endless coughing by her father, George VI, as he died of lung cancer. The coughing, performed with eager realism by the actor Jared

A new path to the top of the teaching tree

A few months ago I joined forces with Sir Anthony Seldon, the vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, to run an idea up the flagpole. Why not make it possible for senior managers from outside the teaching profession to retrain as heads? Anthony, who was a successful head himself, is in the process of setting up the

Wine Club

Wine Club 19 November

One of FromVineyardsDirect’s finest ruses has been to obtain, quietly and discreetly, small amounts of surplus production from the most celebrated châteaux in all Bordeaux (and I mean the most celebrated) and to sell the wine on under their own labels at extremely reasonable prices. These ‘declassified’ wines (as they like to call them) are

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 17 November 2016

Q. Following a lavish house party I received a flood of effusive thank-you letters, the bulk of which praised the impeccable service, the luxurious treats laid on nightly, and my attentiveness to my guests’ every whim. One letter, however, commenced in a fairly complimentary vein but soon devolved into a letter of complaint about a


Autumn riches

A few days ago, on the Dorset/Somerset marches, autumn was still in orderly retreat. Although a pear tree’s leaves had turned sere and yellow, the last fruit was still peeping through. Across the lawn, a horse chestnut was undressing, festooning the lawn with bronze. Out of a cloudless sky, a mild seasonal sun blessed the

Mind your language


At the Queen’s Coronation, the Duke of Northumberland carried the Sword of Mercy called Cortana. I mention this for three reasons: by way of a holiday, since it is as far from the American elections as we can get; because I am worried that the sword might not be carried at the next Coronation; and

The Wiki Man

How the left wastes its energy

There are only three infallible rules in advertising. Be distinctive. Make a lot of noise. And try to feature a cute animal somewhere. Had Donald Trump followed my advice and bought a springer spaniel he would have won California. For a man with such tiny hands to be elected to the world’s highest office, I