High life

High Life | 29 August 2009

Gstaad What I find quite fascinating is how Americans have a blind spot about their own flaws in the area of human rights, and how they feel they have a duty to lecture other countries on the issue. I am, of course, referring to the outrage over the Libyan deal, an outrage shared by most

Low life

Low Life | 29 August 2009

I inserted my earphones and stepped up on the treadmill. I kept my finger on the treadmill’s speed-control button until it showed 11.5 kilometres per hour, then I pressed ‘recently purchased’ and ‘play’ on my MP3 player. The first track was Albert King doing his version of ‘Honky Tonk Women’. I was up and running.

Real life

Real Life | 29 August 2009

What a pleasure it has been to have workmen digging up my street. No, seriously. I want to pay tribute to British Gas and Morrison and all the other contractors who have been tunnelling into my home, tearing out shrubs and ripping up floorboards in order to lay horrible-looking pipes attached to huge and hideous

More from life

The Turf | 29 August 2009

Variety Club day at Sandown, a splendid tradition which raises many thousands for disadvantaged children, is always a bit of a test. That chap over there in the tailored jeans and the shark’s tooth necklace — is he the star of something I should have watched last night or just a jack-the-lad from the local

Status Anxiety | 29 August 2009

For years I have been competing with my brother-in-law. He is married to my wife’s sister and each summer the four of us spend a week in Cornwall, along with all our children. For Johnny and me, this is a period of mutual accounting in which we forensically examine each other’s achievements over the last

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 29 August 2009

Q. Mary, please help urgently. We have friends to stay with us in Scotland every year at this time. This year I have an impressive quota of three single (heterosexual) men in their forties. I have identified one in particular as ideal for a singleton female friend who is also coming. How can I force

Mind your language

Dot is up in arms about Irish linguistic shoplifting

My husband wanted to use the lavatory in London recently, as husbands begin to, and, since all the public conveniences have inconveniently been closed, he popped into the Strutton Arms. I was delighted to find that it had changed its name from Finnegan’s Wake. My objection was not the apostrophe, which, though absent in the

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man | 29 August 2009

There is an experiment in behavioural economics which involves showing people some item — a mug or suchlike — and asking them what they might be prepared to pay for it. Some time later, you contrive to give them an identical mug for free. You then ask how much they want to hand their mug