High life

High life | 24 August 2017

When the Germans smuggled arguably the world’s most evil man into Russia 100 years ago, they did not imagine the harm they were unleashing on the human race. Once Lenin had prevailed, he decided to forge a new consciousness, New Soviet Man, as the Bolshies called it, someone who would overcome ‘the antinomies of subjective

Low life

Low life | 24 August 2017

My mother has various chronic illnesses and finds it almost impossible to remain both immobile and awake during the day. At night she can’t sleep owing to hallucinations caused by her Parkinson’s medication. I think she is also subject to a general delusion that the house is overrun with mice. There is hardly a drawer

Real life

Real life | 24 August 2017

Darcy is high-maintenance, so I decided to leave her in the posh livery yard, with its luxuriant shavings beds and 24-hour butler service. Being the great-granddaughter of Nijinsky, she expects to be accommodated in style and is apt to become disconsolate if left in a field for longer than a few hours. However Gracie, the

Wild life

Wild life | 24 August 2017

Indian Ocean coast Like most men I wonder if I have been much good as a father, but one thing I got right was that I gave our children, Eve and Rider, the Indian Ocean. Before they could even walk my Claire taught her babies to feel happy splashing about in the sandy coral pools

More from life

As easy as 1, 2, 3…

The amount of nonsense being talked about the new GCSEs in English and maths, whereby exams have been graded 9-1 rather than A*-G, is astonishing. The new grading system is ‘gibberish’ and will cost young people jobs, according to the Institute of Directors. The NSPCC thinks greater differentiation at the top end, with 9 being

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 24 August 2017

Q. I am in my seventies and my husband is in his nineties. The other night we had two couples to dinner. However, when they arrived (separately), we both realised we had forgotten their names, so when I brought the second couple into the drawing room I was incapable of introducing everyone to each other


The countryside’s eternal youth

I once witnessed a rarer spectacle than Halley’s Comet. I heard Ted Heath tell a funny story. It related to the mid-fifties. Le grand épicier, then chief whip, found himself bear-leading Field Marshal Montgomery on a visit to a racecourse. Pol Roger, a horse belonging to Churchill, was expected to win. The principles of betting

Mind your language


I was puzzled by the caption to a picture in the Times Literary Supplement. The picture showed a model of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The caption said that it had been made in the ‘late 1600s’, but it was clear from other evidence that it dated from the later 17th century.

The Wiki Man

Want greater diversity? Try being less fair

In its hasty dismissal of James Damore, Google showed a worrying disregard for one of the most important freedoms within a company — the freedom to ask: ‘What if we’re wrong?’ A business culture that can attract and accommodate people with complementary talents benefits everybody. So even if you don’t believe Damore’s theories (in which