High life

Low life

This shower head should come with a health warning

This hotel is brand new. One half is a university students’ hostel, the other an apartment hotel. Car parking is ample and free of charge. The students we saw coming and going from the lobby were easily our social superiors. The check-in guy was clean and polite, and without being asked supplied us with a

Real life

Confessions of an insurance junkie

Never add up your insurance premiums. I just did and the annual cost of all of them came to more than the cost of most man-made or natural disasters. That means there really isn’t any point to any of them, statistically speaking. The problem is I’m an insurance junkie. I’m a born cynic, a pessimist,

More from life

The elderly are society’s new baddies

The gulf in understanding between the old and the young has widened with the news that the young are beginning to turn teetotal. If there was one thing that the old thought they knew about the young, it was that they drank too much. British youth led the world in its enthusiasm for alcohol. Our

Spectator Sport

The Cricket World Cup needs minnows

Graeme Swann arrived late for the last cricket World Cup. His wife had given birth before the tournament and he was given leave to miss the warm-ups and just arrive for the first match. No need to worry: it was only the Netherlands, the competition’s weakest side. Naturally England nearly lost it, but Swann took

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I stop my elderly host making the bed?

Q. I have regularly stayed with a hospitable friend in London but now hesitate to invite myself. She is seventy-something with a bad back and no help but always provides me with an immaculately presented bed and refuses to let me help with its preparation and dismantling. I bring presents but feel these are small


Mind your language

Dodginess from Tacitus to Ed Miliband

‘I hate Jammie Dodgers,’ said my husband staring disdainfully at a biscuit kindly tucked into his coffee saucer at an after-church gathering. I’m glad only I heard. But the fact is that we British generally admire dodgers. Dickens came up with a fine sobriquet when he gave John Dawkins the nickname the Artful Dodger. As


Annie’s Fish

It hangs, a mobile in the stairwell, always in motion however slight. Each silver scale as it sparkles there a neighbourly lodestar guiding us home to where we shall meet for ever in friendship beyond the darkness of your loss. Nothing you made that did not shine, nothing you dreamed can leave us now. And