High life

High life | 20 June 2019

Bellamy’s and Oswald’s are the two best restaurants in London. They are owned by two friends of mine — both gents, both English — and the service and food are as good as it gets. And it don’t get better, as they say in Chicago. Last Friday I got off the plane and went straight

Low life

Low life | 20 June 2019

I walked in out of the rain, dripping, and sat down beside the fire on the primitive high-backed settle. ‘Is this OK?’ I said to the guardian. ‘Yes, you’re allowed to sit on the furniture, none of which is original,’ she said. She was a small woman in her fifties, radiating an attractive combination of

Real life

Real life | 20 June 2019

‘Take a seat,’ said the prospective lodger as we stood in my dining room. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand,’ I said. ‘Perhaps you’d like to sit down while we discuss things,’ he said, producing a folder which he waved at me. Something was wrong here, even I could work that out. ‘Discuss things? What things?’

More from life

The turf | 20 June 2019

Boris Johnson, Remainers might like to be reminded, does sometimes change his mind under pressure. Some years ago, as editor of The Spectator, he dropped the then weekly Turf column, as he told me, ‘to provide more room for politics at the front of the magazine’. Fortunately for me, so many readers protested at its

Wine Club

Wine Club 22 June

Ah, how lovely! The sun’s out and the birds are tweeting. My boys’ wretched A-levels and GCSEs are finally over and, bless them, the chaps remembered Father’s Day unprompted for once. I’ve got my Ashes/World Cup cricket and Glyndebourne tickets and, well, everything seems to be coming up rosé. And, goodness me, don’t we Brits

No sacred cows

Cooking up offence comes at a price

Something rather wonderful happened last week for those of us who have been the victims of a public shaming — as I was at the beginning of 2018 when some people dug up some sophomoric tweets I’d sent ten years earlier. The jury delivered its verdict in a lawsuit that a bakery in Oberlin, Ohio

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 20 June 2019

Q. One of the members of our book club is particularly nosy and gossipy. I like this woman, but when it was my turn to host I had the lunch in our barn to pre-empt her snooping in the house. As soon as the barn loo was occupied, however, she began squirming and told us


A perfect match

Cricket is the most gracious of games. County grounds in the lee of cathedrals, village greens in the perfect setting of trees and a pub, and not far from the parish church: even if the match will not be over in time for evensong, there is more than a hint of Dearly Beloved, a phrase

Mind your language

Doggo lingo

Doggy sounds childish. ‘How much is that doggie in the window?’ asks the popular song. (The song title used the spelling doggie, being American, though Britain enjoyed a cover version by Lita Roza in 1953, the same year as Patti Page’s original.). Doggo sounds cooler (like daddy-o in hep talk), but in the strange world

The Wiki Man

Signs of the times

My first award for intelligent design this week goes to Dublin airport for displaying a sign which reads ‘Lounges. Turn back. No lounges beyond this point.’ It may seem like a trivial thing, but it takes a rare intelligence to think in this way. It’s one thing to put up a sign that says ‘Lounges,