High life

High Life | 27 July 2017

Greece   I am surfing along the Cycladic islands on Puritan, a 125ft classic that was launched in 1929 by John Alden and has remained among the most beautiful sailing boats ever. Everything on board is original, including the MoMC, my two grandchildren and my son. I boarded her at Porto Heli, where the granddaughter

Low life

Low life | 27 July 2017

‘We are always waiting for somebody,’ observed a vexed British journalist. Usually it was me they were waiting for, but this morning I had boarded the tour bus on time and I tutted along with the righteous. While we waited I picked up the driver’s copy of that day’s edition of El Pais. On the

Real life

Real life | 27 July 2017

Quite stoically, I was mountaineering on my hands and knees over a sea of rubble to get to the temporary loo in the basement until I impaled my foot on a nail sticking out of a chunk of wood. It was partly my fault for wearing flip-flops, of course. But the builder boyfriend grudgingly agreed

Wild life

Wild life | 27 July 2017

Kenya   We are on the beach, where our home is full of dystopian stories. My daughter Eve is whizzing through her A-level summer reading list, and as we share her books around we all have our noses in post-third world war Australia, the Republic of Gilead, in a submarine London and totalitarian future states.

More from life

Now I get it – Corbyn is the new Murdoch

For our 16th wedding anniversary, Caroline and I went to the Almeida Theatre to see Ink, a new play about Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of the Sun in 1969 and the subsequent circulation war with the Daily Mirror. It is terrifically funny, brimming with comic characters and acerbic one-liners, as you would expect from writer James

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 27 July 2017

Q. My children are very lucky in that we have bought them all flats. However, they are now renting out these properties with Airbnb, then coming to stay with us at home, just when we thought they had flown the nest. They are more than welcome at weekends but during the week my ancient husband


My beef with David Cameron

Insufficient attention has been paid to the history of naughty girls, who deployed allure to prosper in a male-dominated world. Moralists insisted that they would all come to a bad end. From Jezebel to Cleopatra, Lady Hamilton to Becky Sharp, many did so. But not all. Salomé died a queen; Pamela Harriman, an ambassador. There

Mind your language


‘I love the pumping station,’ said my husband, waving a copy of the Docklands and East London Advertiser which reported the architectural listing of the Isle of Dogs storm water pumping station. ‘I’d been looking for that,’ I said patiently (I thought). ‘The listing is not the point.’ A reader had sent the paper to

The Wiki Man

The right kind of dumbing down

Thanks to meteoric advances in computational power, it is now possible to take abundant data from a wide range of sources, and use statistical modelling to prove… um, whatever bullshit conclusion you hoped to prove in the first place. For all the excitement of the information age, we must remember that self-serving delusions like nothing