High life

High Life | 30 May 2009

Fifty-four years ago this month, dizzy with happiness at having been freed from the jail that was boarding school, I ventured down New York’s 5th Avenue looking for fun and adventure. I knew a place called ‘El Borracho’, Spanish for drunkard, where my parents used to dine. The owner was an agreeable Catalan, who had

Low life

Low Life | 30 May 2009

Siren’s call ‘Looking for love?’ said a junk-mail invitation to join an online dating site free of charge. They’d hit the nail on the head. I signed up and followed the step-by-step instructions to compiling and posting my profile. First I had to describe myself in at least 28 words. Then I had to tick

Wild life

Wild Life | 30 May 2009

Zimbabwe ‘Ah, and no cake to offer you!’ Mrs H— said. ‘I would have baked one if only I’d known you were coming.’ It was teatime in Zimbabwe. A golden afternoon sunlight streamed across the shrivelled garden lawn and the mopani woodland beyond. Mr H— chipped in, ‘But of course the telephone is cut off,

Slow life

Slow Life | 30 May 2009

Just slightly less brilliant than it had been outside, the weather suddenly became ordinary again: the heavens giving the correct salute to everything returning to routine. It had been a perfect long weekend. I can’t remember a nicer one. All thoughts of destination, deadline and doubt disappearing in the long and certain kiss of summertime,

More from life

Status Anxiety | 30 May 2009

Las Vegas is the polar opposite of the nanny state. Which is why it’s under threat My friend Rob Long, an American television producer, once joked that he couldn’t understand the movie Leaving Las Vegas. ‘I just don’t get it,’ he said. ‘Why would anyone want to leave Las Vegas?’ After spending four weeks here,

Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport | 30 May 2009

There’s nothing easier than betting with hindsight, but you have to say that Coral’s offer of 3-1 on the four teams in the Premiership relegation scrap — Hull, Sunderland, Boro and Newcastle — failing to win was of a generosity to make even the Commons Fees Office blanch. Sure enough they all did even worse and

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 30 May 2009

Q. I was at a private view the other night when a waiter dropped not just one glass but a whole tray of them. I was unsure what to do. Should I turn a blind eye while the waiter tackled the problem on his own or should I have lent a hand? I know that

Mind your language

Mind your language | 30 May 2009

I was struck by Neil Tennant’s story (Diary, 23 May) about a message in a séance spelling out to a group of teenagers ‘My dear children, you are so young. Do not make my mistake. — Oscar Wilde.’ It reminded me of that passage in G.K. Chesterton’s Autobiography, where, having fallen into a period of