Is it still possible to love Moroccan cookery if you can’t stand fruit in savoury dishes? Yes, discovers Camilla StoddartI love Morocco. Everything about it is exotic and visually pleasing — the landscape, the interiors, the souks, the carpets, the slippers — but there is a major hurdle lying between me and full Moroccophile status. This hurdle is fruit. Or more specifically fruit combined with meat.
Jeremy Clarke on lust, literature and luxury at one of Churchill’s favourite hotelsA retired Egyptian army officer, comfortably married, two grown-up children, is relaxing with friends by the pool at his club in the smart Maadi district of Cairo. A lifelong heterosexual, Captain Ni’mat is surprised to find his idle gaze drawn for the first time in his life towards the youthful male bodies on display around him.
The proposal to change Britain’s clocks has returned, this time with tacit government support.
It makes no sense — except perhaps in BrusselsSince the day I flew backwards across the International Date Line I have known that you should not mess around with time. On that occasion I left Siberia on Monday morning and arrived in Alaska the previous Sunday afternoon in time for lunch. This was and remains confusing, though it offers disproof of the old cliché that you cannot put the clock back.
As David Cameron recovers from the biggest-ever Tory rebellion over Europe, he should beware of another dramatic, self-inflicted injury. The government has stopped short of giving its official endorsement to Rebecca Harris’s bill to move Britain on to Central European Time. But nor has it quashed the idea, which it could have done. Instead, government whips have allowed the bill to move to its next stage — the so-called money resolution.
On Newcastle University library’s horrible ‘makeover’Though I retired early from Newcastle University in 1997, I have access to the university library as an associate member and use it fairly regularly. The staff and porters are excellent, and the classical section still serves my humble purposes well enough. But for how much longer?It was over Christmas 2007 that the culture began to change, and the library to go the way of the rest of the university.
The C of E’s pioneer women priests are waiting anxiously for their first female bishopDiocese by diocese, the Church of England is voting in favour of women becoming bishops. Last week Truro, Norwich, Blackburn, Rochester, St Albans, Wakefield and Winchester gave their ‘yes’ vote to the draft legislation, bringing the total to 29 dioceses out of 44 in favour, well over the 50 per cent mark needed to allow it to go back to the General Synod for final approval next year.
Last month, on the most glorious of autumnal days, the world of music paid its last respects to Robert Tear. St Martin in the Fields was packed and the singing, as you can imagine, was magnificent. Sir Thomas Allen gave us Kurt Weill’s ‘September Song’, Sir John Tomlinson contributed Sarastro’s aria from Zauberflöte, and Dame Janet Baker read a poem by Emily Dickinson. It was some send-off.Bob deserved no less.
In 1997 in Hong Kong one of Mao Zedong’s numerous sexual partners — in this case an underage one — told me her life story. Mao the monster was already notorious: his lunatic policies had caused the world’s worst famine (1959–1961), in which 40 to 50 million Chinese starved to death; he inspired the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), when a few million more died. And before he came to power in 1949, Mao often ordered the murder of those who challenged his ambitions within the Chinese Communist Party.
The protesters outside St Paul’s are united in polite disagreementIt’s really not clear why the doors to St Paul’s had to be closed. Perhaps the church will have concocted a reasonable explanation by the time it’s all over, but after an afternoon walking around the protesters’ camp, it’s hard to imagine that they pose any sort of threat. Already the site has the peaceful air of a hippy festival. Groups sit in circles, talking and picking at the piles of crisps and chocolates donated by supporters of the cause.
Even a dreadful garden will receive warm praise if you open it to the public – as Sir Roy Strong has provedThere is no garden in Britain so awful that someone won’t describe it as ‘lovely’. Especially if it is associated with a celebrity. I recently listened to Sir Roy Strong on the radio oozing complacency as he discussed his garden at the Laskett and why it should be saved for the nation. He made a virtue out of its disorder: ‘If a giant thistle seeds itself in the middle of the kitchen garden my head gardener just lets it grow there… and people love that.