High life

High life | 23 November 2017

The faux Leonardo that sold for 400 million greenbacks — plus a 50 million fee for Christie’s — was a subject dissected again and again by the glitterati at two rather splendid dinners given in the Bagel by George Livanos and Mick Flick. My fellow guests were not the types to be outraged or shocked

Low life

Low life | 23 November 2017

The door to Trev’s flat was open so I walked in and found him on the sofa watching TV. He looked up and gave an ironic cheer. How long was it? We thought it must be at least a year since we’d last seen each other, maybe a year and a half. And how was

Real life

Real life | 23 November 2017

Six months into the renovations and I have so much dust in my lungs I have had to give Stefano an ultimatum. ‘You’ve got to finish by Christmas,’ I told him when he arrived with his men the other morning, ‘or I am going to have to start spending the budget, such that it exists,

More from life

The turf | 23 November 2017

Richard Johnson may already have 100 winners in the bag, and Paul Nicholls may already have banked £750,000 worth of prize money for his owners, but for most racing fans Cheltenham’s November meeting marks the start of the true jumping season. There was a moment last Saturday, as the incessant rain — one that found

What the hell was Paperchase thinking?

Last Saturday, the high-street chain Paperchase ran a promotion in the Daily Mail offering two free rolls of wrapping paper. Nothing objectionable about that, you might think, even if the design was migraine-inducingly awful. I have lost count of the number of times I have been dragged into this ghastly emporium by my daughter on

Wine Club

Wine Club 25 November

I adore the wines of New Zealand and reckon I could survive on nothing but, if I were ordered to drink the wines of just one country for the rest of my days. Well, I’d need the odd bacon sandwich or plate of oysters in between, but I think you know what I mean. One

Spectator Sport

Let young Foakes sweep out the Ashes

So the Ashes has finally got over the line, and not a minute too soon. At the time of writing we don’t know what happened in the first day but it’s a fair bet that it hasn’t turned out well for England — they haven’t won in Brisbane since 1986. Steve Harmison’s first-ball delivery to

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 23 November 2017

Q. I was recently at an informal dinner given by two dear friends, but returned home seething with rage against one of their two guests. The odd thing was that for at least half of the dinner I had liked her; she had seemed soothing and articulate and had a pretty face. Her true colours


The worst food in London

Farmacy, which opened last year, is London’s most fashionable ‘clean eating’ restaurant; it is, therefore, a restaurant for people who hate food. This ‘clean eating’ epidemic grows as we fall into decadence and see food, rather than our own mouths, as the source of our calamity — how can we be saved from food? It

Mind your language


‘It’s up there on the shelf you can’t reach,’ said my husband in an unhelpfully helpful tone. The ‘it’ was a copy of The King’s English, Kingsley Amis’s book on usage. I quoted it the other week on the deployment of the. On the same page is a Kingsleyish word I wanted to follow up