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Did I give Russ Abbot Covid?

For the past few weeks there’s been a 7 p.m. curfew in Barbados as part of what the government calls a ‘national pause’ (lockdown, essentially). I’m actually grateful because it’s been manic lately. The excitement started with the visit of Captain Sir Tom Moore in December. I was commissioned by a golfing group called the

The King of Christmas: A short story by Owen Matthews

The Christmas King steps slowly from his house and sniffs the evening’s chill. His tread is dainty, for all his heft, and his handsome head swings proudly as he surveys a kingdom of carrot tops and mud. He smells woodsmoke, the sows’ reek, the night’s damp rising from the river. From the kitchen door he

The economic case for smart meters

Britain’s smart meter rollout is the biggest change to our country’s energy infrastructure in a generation. This vital upgrade to an outdated, analogue system is creating a decentralised and decarbonised energy network which can help Britain meet its climate change targets, whilst also ensuring customers receive reliable, sustainable and cost-effective energy now and in the

Why we need a smart energy system

The UK has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. But to achieve our ambitious climate targets, we need to change our energy system radically. We need a smarter and more flexible system to supply more renewable, efficient and low-carbon energy to households, and help us all to manage our valuable natural resources more efficiently.

Britain’s smart energy upgrade

Britain is in the middle of the biggest upgrade to its energy infrastructure in a generation. Millions of households have already made the move to smart meters — enjoying a better understanding of their energy usage and using that knowledge to change habits, save money and cut their carbon footprint. While householders enjoy the personal

The star dreamer

‘Wake up, boy! Wake up…’ My father was shaking me and I was confused because it seemed that I had only just gone to sleep. ‘Get dressed. Hurry.’ The lamps were not lit and the house was silent. Outside, the night sky glittered with stars and silken moonlight shone across the sand. My father was

Jeeves and the Midnight Mess

‘Christmas Eve in Mayfair, Jeeves! There’s nothing in heaven to top it. Even with the terror of eleventh-hour shopping for the gang Travers.’ ‘Indeed, sir.’ ‘But we can’t pitch up at Brinkley Court tomorrow bereft of g., f., and the other one.’ ‘Myrrh, sir? No, sir.’ ‘I fear I’m both a little later and much

Review: Mr Oscar Wilde’s poems

190 years of The Spectator   13 August 1881 The reading of this book fills us with alarm. It is evidently the work of a clever man, as well as of an educated man, but it is not only a book containing poems which ought never to have been conceived, still less published, but it

The duty of England and the American crisis

190 years of The Spectator   1 June 1861 The time has arrived when the national will on the American quarrel ought to be expressed. A party, numerous in Parliament and powerful in the press, is beginning to intrigue for the recognition of the South. They are aided by the fears of the cotton dealers,

The country gentleman and the Corn Laws

190 years of The Spectator   14 January 1843   The country gentlemen of England never committed a greater blunder than when they passed the Corn Law of 1815. If they would but allow themselves to examine dispassionately their own objects, they could scarcely fail to discover this, and also the necessity of retreating as

To our non-political readers

190 years of The Spectator   21 May 1831   Lucretius tells us, in some famous lines, that it is a pleasant thing to watch the sea in a tempest, from the shore: it is a far more gratifying employment to be throwing out Manby’s lifesaving apparatus, and saving the sinking mariners from the wreck.

Sweeping the streets

190 years of The Spectator   6 September 1957 There are two ways of looking at sexual immorality. One is to regard all illicit intercourse as a crime; the other is to regard it as a sin but not as something which concerns the State unless it has obvious anti-social consequences. The first has been

Out – and into the World

190 years of The Spectator   4 June 1975   At no time during the campaign have the opponents of our membership of the EEC been remotely as unbalanced, as hysterical or as deliberately personally insulting as those in the opposite camp. Naturally, as in any vigorously fought campaign, there have been some fibs and

The new club of rich young men

190 years of The Spectator   15 March 1986   It is difficult to estimate the number of young investment bankers, stockbrokers and commodity brokers earning £100,000 a year. Perhaps there are only a couple of thousand, but they are so mobile and noisy that they give the impression of being far more numerous. Most

The awful rise of ‘virtue signalling’

190 years of The Spectator   18 April 2015 Go to a branch of Whole Foods, the American-owned grocery shop, and you will see huge posters advertising Whole Foods, of course, but — more precisely — advertising how virtuous Whole Foods is: ‘We are part of a growing consciousness that is bigger than food —