High life

High life | 24 September 2015

Gstaad Jeremy Clarke has wiped me out again, for a change. His accounts of the high jinks on board the Spectator At the age of 79, I’m seriously contemplating becoming a bird-watcher cruise had the mother of my children laughing out loud, something she’s not known for among those of us who consider laughing loudly

Low life

Low life | 24 September 2015

I was looking after Oscar, my five-and-a-half-year-old grandson, for the day. We’d played football in the garden, then we’d come indoors and played three games of chess, one game of Battleships, and several memory card games. I lost the football by 25 goals to 11, all three games of chess, saw my entire fleet sunk

Real life

Real life | 24 September 2015

After pulling out of my flat sale and U-turning on the idea of moving to the Cotswolds, it took me a while to realise why. But there is a reason I can never seem to find what I’m looking for. No matter where I go to house-hunt for the cottage of my dreams, nothing is

Wild life

Wild life | 24 September 2015

   Laikipia A lion has just mauled and partially eaten a warrior who tried to throw a spear in my guts while trespassing on my farm a few months ago. This man was from the same gang that in April attacked me with rocks and smashed up my left hand so badly the doctors were

More from life

Long life | 24 September 2015

It’s hard to turn on the television nowadays without being shown a robot. It might be looking like a grasshopper doing something terribly important, such as helping a surgeon with an operation, or just be a cute little metal humanoid designed to make schoolchildren more interested in their studies. One robot I saw on TV

Corbyn sets off on the wrong track

Amid all the excitement about David Cameron this week, I fear that Jeremy Corbyn’s first major policy announcement may have been overlooked. That would be a shamae because the policy is really, really bad. I’m talking about his proposal to ‘renationalise’ the railways. Now, I have to confess to not really understanding this policy. Aren’t

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 24 September 2015

Q. I am an impoverished artist living in a famously cheap European city, largely for reasons of economy. I love it when friends and family relieve the monotony of lonely days in my garret by coming to stay, but every time anyone does they want to go to all the museums and galleries, which represents


Club mischief

When it comes to nightclubs, many have written, but none has surpassed the Perroquet in Debra Dowa. Le tout Debra Dowa was present, including Madame ‘Fifi’ Fatim Bey, the town courtesan; Prince Fyodor Krononin, the manager; and Seth, the Emperor of Azania. Tension is caused by the arrival of the Earl of Ngumo, six and

Mind your language


A great discovery has been made by Dr Paul Booth, a fellow of Keele University. It is a 14th-century example of fuck. We might think the word Anglo-Saxon, but it’s hard to find written examples before the 16th century. Chaucer never uses it. The earliest citation in the Oxford English Dictionary is in a poem

The Wiki Man

From A to B, differently

Afamily member is thinking of moving and asked for commuting advice. Well, first add 25 per cent to any journey time estimate containing the phrase ‘door to door’. When commuters cite journey time to work, the journey they have in mind is one which happens with the frequency of a solar eclipse: when every traffic