High life

High life | 22 October 2011

New York The morning routine is now a pleasure. Up early, stretch and bend the creaky limbs, hit the coffee and off to judo and karate. All last week I managed to get drunk only twice, hence there were five such mornings. And what mornings they were: stolen from summer without the oppressive heat. One

Low life

Low life | 22 October 2011

That famous ideal pub of George Orwell’s, The Moon Under Water? Sounds boring to me. There’s no music, every customer is a ‘regular’ with his own chair and it is always quiet enough to talk. The barmaids call you dear (not ducky as they do in ‘raffish’ pubs). If singing breaks out in the Moon

Real life

Real life | 22 October 2011

Sanity is subjective. It depends very much on where you are. I know this because I spend half my time in south London and the other half in the country. Talking to strangers in the supermarket is fine in Surrey, for instance. In Waitrose, Cobham everyone talks to you. The check-out lady there told me

More from life

Motoring: Question of speed

I should have used the Discovery 3 to tow an ancient and heavy horse-trailer loaded with well over a ton of logs. Its V6 direct-injection diesel, with plenty of low-end torque, would have smiled; in low ratio first, on rough ground, it pulls it on tickover. But I felt it was time the 39-year-old Series

Status Anxiety | 22 October 2011

On Sunday I went to the Cheltenham Literary Festival to bang the drum for free schools. I was expecting a warm reception. The local MP is a Lib Dem, but the county council is Conservative. This wouldn’t be like my trip to Manchester last month. Almost as soon as I stepped off the train I

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: your problems solved | 22 October 2011

Q. My wife and I both work from home. We happen to have three friends called Sue, all of whom ring up on a regular basis. On the telephone they all sound identical, and so when one of them rings to speak to my wife I struggle to find a tactful way of identifying which


Drink: Monarch of the glen

As one approaches St James’s Street from Pall Mall, there is an enticing window full of whisky bottles. Part of Berry Bros & Rudd’s temple complex, it is devoted to Glenrothes, a Speyside Malt. The bottles do not look as if they were designed by a marketing man and their labels largely consist of tasting

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Better than a ride on a banana

A friend of mine once spent a week on a vast luxury yacht cruising the Mediterranean. It was all jolly pleasant, he remembered, except for a strange thing: throughout the entire trip, the only time the shipboard party had experienced what you might call ‘fun’ was when somebody discovered in a locker some kind of