At least we still have wine

Even in recent heat, the English summer can be magical. As long as there is shade, a pool and a steady supply of cooling wine, there is so much to enjoy. Trees, flowers, songbirds, butterflies: dolce far niente works here too. But thinking can be the snake which insinuates itself into Eden. Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler books are always excellent train reading and the latest was no exception, even if the principal character always puts one in mind of Turner’s supposed reply to someone who said that they had never seen a sunset like the one which he had painted. ‘But don’t you wish you could?’ It is hard to

Should you really pair Pimm’s with oysters?

Imagine a camel train, crossing the great desert. The remaining water is rancid; the beasts’ humps are shrunken. Death looms. Then suddenly, there is the sound of a fountain plashing and the scent of sherbet. Old Abdullah, who has done the journey often, as he has been reminding everyone for ten days and making his companions increasingly homicidal, is vindicated. The oasis is at hand. Although Londoners, afflicted by heat, may feel affinity with those sons of the desert, our conditions are not so dire. For a start, there are many more oases, in the form of bars or clubs. That brings us to Pimm’s, that admirable method of rehydration.