High life

Taki: in defence of my friend Alec Baldwin

You know you’re old when people start writing kindly about you. Especially when they are colleagues. First Jeremy Clarke, now Deborah Ross. Debbie could of course be spoofing — if you look down at your bag of popcorn you’ll miss me — but thank you very much anyway. When my new boat is ready there

Low life

Low life | 21 November 2013

The beer garden at the back of the pub was empty, save one woman sitting alone at a table contemplating a pint glass. It was Saturday night, early, already dark. I placed my carnival glass of Kirin Ichiban on the table next to hers and sat down. The beer garden was floodlit with blue and

Real life

More from life

Racing: Here are the ‘Twelve to Follow’ for winter

Women truly are different. Recovering in a spare bedroom from the wonders of a hip replacement (don’t ever jump on industrial-sized wheelie bins to compress the contents), I passed Mrs Oakley’s bedroom at 3 a.m. to find her light on. What was wrong? ‘I can’t get to sleep,’ she complained, ‘because I know there’s something

My life as a litter monitor

The think tank Policy Exchange has just published an excellent report on Britain’s urban green spaces called ‘Park Land’. The report’s author, Katherine Drayson, argues that we need to take better care of our parks and public gardens, particularly in the north-east, where local authority expenditure on open spaces has been cut by more than

Dear Mary


Mineral reserves

St James’s Street is a repository of urban comfort. It contains majestic clubs, a gunsmith, a boot-maker, a barber, a cigar shop and a hatter. There are also restaurants, although the doyen is just round a corner in Jermyn Street: Wilton’s. Few if any establishments can match the quality of its seafood. It is as

Mind your language


Catching up with the excellent biography of the 3rd Marquess of Bute (the man who built Cardiff Castle among other eccentricities) by Rosemary Hannah, I came across this seasonal horror for Stir Up Sunday. In the Greek islands that Bute toured, they laid out grapes to dry as currants. ‘The beds these currants are laid

The Wiki Man