High life

High Life | 23 May 2009

New York This being my last week in the Bagel, the butterflies have arrived with a vengeance. Stuttgart, I am told, will be no picnic. Two top judokas, one Japanese, the other German, are in my age group, which I find quite ironic. My boat is named Bushido — the way of the Samurai warrior

Low life

Low Life | 23 May 2009

My last day in Australia I spent in Sydney. In the afternoon, under a blackening sky, I took the ferry out to Manly, sat on the beach and wrote a letter to my boy, enclosing a sample of Manly sand between the pages. Then I returned by ferry to Sydney, and on the way back

Real life

Real Life | 23 May 2009

There was something hideously inevitable about the whole thing. I should have known it was going to happen. It was the most obvious thing in the world, when you think about it. I picked up my car from the Peugeot garage, having spent £1,200 on repairs taking two weeks and more arguing with mechanics than

More from life

The Turf | 23 May 2009

Mother of Parliaments? More like the Ugly Sister of Parliaments these days. But without an expenses system like a roulette wheel permanently fixed to pay up, how can the rest of us find the money to have our moats cleared and our helipad hedges trimmed? As usual the Twelve to Follow relies on a scientific

Status Anxiety | 23 May 2009

I flatter myself that I’m a Vegas insider, but in fact I’m just a regular sucker I am spending the entire month of May in Las Vegas making an American television programme and I am not having a good time. Before embarking on this trip, I indulged in all sorts of fantasies about what might

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 23 May 2009

Q. As a boy I was taught to stand up when a lady enters or leaves the room or indeed when she leaves and returns to the table in a restaurant. I have a new girlfriend and am moving in slightly different circles these days and wonder whether I might inadvertently be ‘giving offence’ to

Mind your language

Mind your language | 23 May 2009

William Barnes, that remarkable Dorset schoolmaster turned rector, with his buckled shoes and knee-breeches, and eccentric ideas on the English language, wrote a poem on milking time: I come along where wide-horn’d cows, ’Ithin a nook, a-screen’d by boughs, Did stan’ an’ flip the white-hoop’d païls Wi’ heäiry tufts o’ swingèn taïls. The milking time

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 23 May 2009

When I was a child, almost everyone I knew had a single telephone kept in a draughty hallway. Why the hallway I don’t know. Perhaps the bell was better heard from there or else they were copying the location from posher homes where once a butler would have answered it. Until recently, there was also