High life

High life | 21 September 2017

As everyone who stands up when a lady enters the room knows, the once sacrosanct rules of civility throughout the West have all but disappeared. The deterioration in manners has been accelerated by the coming of the devil’s device, the dehumanising iPhone, as well as by phoney ‘art’ and artists such as Andy Warhol and

Low life

Low life | 21 September 2017

I got off the plane at Changi still pleasantly sedated by Xanax, passed through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel, and there, waiting with my name on a signboard, was my guide for the next four days. Joy was short, middle-aged and had a low centre of gravity. She was Chinese, she said, pleased about it.

Real life

Real life | 21 September 2017

BT have just put the phone down on me for asking them to stop sending me junk mail, which is a bit much really. I rang the customer services number to ask if they would please unsubscribe me from all the emails they’ve been sending since I became a wifi customer of theirs. ‘You’re driving

More from life

The mystery of socialism’s enduring appeal

One of the mysteries of our age is why socialism continues to appeal to so many people. Whether in the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia or Venezuela, it has resulted in the suppression of free speech, the imprisonment of political dissidents and, more often than not, state-sanctioned mass murder. Socialist

Wine Club

Wine Club 23 September

Mas de Daumas Gassac is one of the great estates of the Languedoc. Indeed, it is often referred to as the Languedoc’s Grand Cru or First Growth, and I am just one of many to have fallen under its spell. The estate’s Moulin de Gassac range is famously accessible and shares the same pedigree and

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 21 September 2017

Q. Last year my husband and I stayed with a much-loved, but slightly airy-fairy friend in her house in Tuscany. Flights, tips, presents, a hire car and house-sitters were already costing us rather a lot, but she insisted we went out to (quite expensive) local restaurants for lunch four days out of five to experience


All’s fair in love and Waugh

I was reminded of Wild West films from boyhood. Then, the beleaguered garrison scanned the horizon; would the US cavalry arrive in time to save them from being scalped? (John Wayne always did.) Now, one was hoping for relief, not from the Injuns, but in the form of an Indian summer. This is of especial

Mind your language

Shocking bad hat

My husband complains that the disposition of teenagers in London is one of mocking hostility. I seem to suffer less from such encounters, and console him by saying it was ever thus. In the 1790s ostlers’ boys would shout ‘Quoz!’ to disconcert an uncertain-looking passer-by. It was a word of doubtful meaning, perhaps connected with

The Wiki Man

Make life easier and all else will follow

You can try to change people’s minds, but this is difficult. You can bribe people to change their behaviour, but it’s expensive. Far simpler is to make the new behaviour easy and enjoyable in and of itself. Recently, colleagues of mine were asked how to promote the habit of recycling domestic refuse. They explained there