High life

High life | 29 October 2011

Fort Worth, Texas To the best state in the Union for the annual John Randolph Club meeting of true conservatives, hip, hip. No posturing peacocks spouting gibberish learned at university diversity courses here, but witty, juicy, intelligent criticisms of today’s cultural sewer, and the part liberals and the enemies of Christendom have played in destroying

Low life

Low life | 29 October 2011

A big mouth, fewer taste buds and a wider gullet than normal means I’m a fast eater. If golloping your dinner was an Olympic event, I’d be knighted by now. Last week I equalled my personal best with a plate of roast pork, apple sauce, roast spuds, mashed swede and runner beans. We were four

Real life

Real life | 29 October 2011

Don’t even ask me how fast I had to go to get to the speed awareness course on time. The rush-hour dash was made even worse by the fact that the letter from ‘the UK’s leading provider of occupational road risk management, driver assessment and training for corporate organisations and speed awareness’ warned me that

More from life

Status Anxiety | 29 October 2011

I’ve finally arrived. No, I’m not talking about being in Who’s Who or going on Desert Island Discs. I’m talking about a stalker. Okay, ‘stalker’ is a slight exaggeration. The woman in question hasn’t actually started going through my bins. She’s more of a cyber-stalker. For the past week or so, she’s sent me a

The turf: Crime and punishment

Two weeks ago I was in Quebec lecturing on, among other things, politicians and drink. The best moment in my research was encountering a Canadian blogger who declared, ‘We’ve had more abstainers than drunks in our Prime Minister’s office. The country has been reasonably well run, but Jeez, it’s been dull.’ It certainly hasn’t been

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport: Winning dirty down under

So the All Blacks deserved it, didn’t they? Yes, yes and thrice yes. But after a brilliant World Cup, and a superb final, the best and the lowest scoring in the tournament’s history, just a few thoughts. The All Blacks stretched the rules just this side of breaking point: one more high tackle or offside,

Dear Mary

Dear Mary: your problems solved | 29 October 2011

Q. I was caught out last week during dinner. The guest on my left was droning on at length and I had tuned in to a more interesting conversation down the other end of the table when to my horror he suddenly said, ‘Sorry… I lost my train of thought. What was I talking about?’


Food: Drowning in mustard

The St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, by Marriott, is 14 syllables long, which is too many. The best hotels have two syllables or at most three, but I can’t spend my life looking for two-syllable hotels with restaurants to review because I would go mad and so would you. Even so, the glorious red building,

Mind your language


To be told that onycha is made of opercula is not always helpful. ‘Take unto thee sweete spices, Stacte, and Onicha, and Galbanum,’ says the Bible (Exodus, xxx 34). The words are poetic, as referring to something oriental that we don’t know from everyday life. Perhaps that is why Edith Sitwell used onycha towards the