High life

High life | 28 April 2012

The first friend I made at Lawrenceville School was called Reuben Batista, eldest son of the Cuban strongman. He was older and in a ‘Circle house’, whereas I was in lower school. Being foreigners gave us something in common, the rest of the school being mostly Wasps with a few Catholics thrown in for good

Low life

Low life | 28 April 2012

About once every six months I drive to a house to pick up a box of six sealed tubs of aloe vera juice. These tubs are not, I hasten to add, for your do or die low life correspondent. No doubt I have lost enough credibility already with last week’s cake forks. If I confessed

Real life

Real life | 28 April 2012

My love affair with the iPad lasted only a few days before it all went horribly wrong. This is tragic, because I overcame several major planks of my obsessive compulsive disorder and conquered some of my most rampant technological demons in order to walk into that Vodafone shop and say the words: ‘Can I have

Wild life

Wild life | 28 April 2012

Laikipia, Kenya Darkness was closing in and one of the sheep was lost. A search party formed. On my Kenya farm big cats, African wild dogs and hyenas abound. Livestock left out overnight are almost sure to be devoured by morning. I’ve had a blind cow grazing in the safety of the garden croquet lawn

More from life

The turf: Risk assessment

After the 2011 Grand National, I sided with the reformers who wanted changes to the use of the whip by jockeys. If racing is to survive we need bums on seats and have to be responsive to public opinion. In the continuing furore after this year’s National, I find myself in a different camp because

Status Anxiety: Staffroom whispers

As a relative newcomer to the field of education, I’ve only just discovered the online forums of the Times Educational Supplement. Forget the TES, which is to the educational establishment what the Church Times is to the Church of England. The forums are the place to go. It’s like being a fly on the wall

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 28 April 2012

Q. Any more tips on how a lonely bachelor can improve his social life? Your recent advice that I should send out a round-robin email saying ‘I’ve had the all-clear’ backfired. I did get loads of calls but many of them were from people who assumed I had been suffering from an STD. — E.W.,


Drink: Bottles by the Tay

A fanatical fisherman died. On arrival in the next world, he found himself on a river. A ghillie was proffering him a 16ft Hardy. ‘This is the life,’ thought the fisherman. ‘Or, rather, the afterlife.’ Within seconds, he made a perfect cast into enticing water: just the sort of pool which would seduce big fish

Mind your language


I want to add a footnote to the obstetric history of last week’s newborn word omnishambles. But before I forget, I noticed an advertisement on the side of a bus recently which asked: ‘Fed up with buffering?’ I did, by chance, know what the bus meant: buffering is the juddering standstill that internet video can

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Not-so-basic instinct

As someone who has a panic attack when the Sky box fails to work, I am fascinated by people who stay calm in a major crisis. Hence I love listening to cockpit voice recordings on YouTube. Among the best are Apollo XIII and ‘US Airways Flight 1549’ — the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’. With both