Mary wakefield

Tales from my private jet

Gstaad I was very sad to read of Rupert Hambro’s death. I didn’t know him well, but first met him long ago, along with his younger brother Rick, also gone. They were both quintessential English gentlemen: handsome, kind and with a great sense of humour. Rupert invited me to lunch quite a few times, but because of circumstance I was never able to reciprocate. The last one was at Wiltons, which he owned, I believe, but he never gave any indication that all was not well. In an age of crybabies and professional victims, Rupert stood out like a saint in hell. He leaves his lovely wife Robin, a Philadelphia-born

Vodka, kaolin and morphine: my welcome drinks at The Spectator offices

In 2001, aged 44, I was hired to write a weekly column for this august paper, and for the first time in my life there was a London door on which I could knock or ring, at any time of the day or evening, and be welcomed in. And what a door! To walk along the Regency terrace sun trap of Doughty Street in Bloomsbury on a summer evening, then breeze through the open door of number 56, and to know that the people to be found inside were the funniest, cleverest, most unsnobbish collection of individuals, and that booze was the second language, was a dream come true. I