Lockdown has been good for Jelle’s Marble Runs, with more than 1m YouTube subscribers
“Can’t believe I watched this all the way to the end,” Gary Lineker tweeted early into Britain’s coronavirus crisis. “The lack of live sport is clearly getting to me.” He attached a 2-minute YouTube video in which a handful of marbles career down a twisting channel dug into sand, accompanied by a breathless commentary: “Marbles in the blocks … and they’re off!”
Once an unseen figure sets the marbles loose, there is no human interaction in the race, the positions of the coloured competitors decided purely by chance and the chicanes of the course. The early lead is taken by a light blue marble called Comet, until an unlucky collision knocks it back to fourth place. “And now Comet, just like that, fights back to the lead,” roars the commentary. The marble goes on to finish with an emphatic win. Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 12:03 pm
As children begin to return to school, some parents will be preparing their first packed lunches. But don’t panic – here’s how to make it go smoothly
After more than two months of shutdown, schools are starting to reopen their gates to children without key-worker parents. However, some schools have not yet reopened their kitchens. If you have made the choice to return your kids to school, it means it could be time to start thinking about lunchboxes. Perhaps you’re just a little rusty. Perhaps your children have always had school dinners and this will be their first taste of packed lunches. Either way, here’s a quick guide to throwing together a cheap and healthy lunchbox. Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 10:18 am
It seems we’re all spinning around the parks in the same ankle-length, sack-like garments we probably bought last autumn – they may be comfortable, but let’s not pretend they are flattering
I’ve finally left my house for the first time in 10 weeks and … every woman seems to be wearing the same dress. Is this one of the conditions of easing lockdown?
Samantha, by email
Yes – did you miss that daily briefing? It was issued by Matt Hancock, before laughing in a dead-eyed hysterical manner that is weirdly reminiscent of when the people of Gotham became infected by the Joker’s poison in Tim Burton’s Batman. Come to think of it, Dominic Cummings does have something of the chaos-loving Joker about him. It would certainly explain his otherwise inexplicable outfits. Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 9:01 am
Buy the best anchovies and tomatoes you can lay your hands on for this intensely flavoured salad
There are 32 ways to say “anchovy” in Italian. Thirty-two regional names, many of them in dialect, for the small, slender fish with silvery sides and receding lower jaw. The most common names, though, for the much-loved chinless wonder are two: alici and acciughe.
While anchovies are abundant in the Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific oceans, they remain rare for many because they are so fragile, deteriorating with every hour they are out of the sea; even more so when they are transported. I see this five days a week at my local market when it receives the previous night’s catch from the fishing port of Anzio. The journey from Anzio into Rome is only 51km – not a problem for most of the fish, iced and insulated in shock-proof polystyrene boxes. The anchovies, however, seem to suffer every bump on the road. That isn’t to say they are not bright-eyed and beautiful; they are – especially at 8am, and even at 9 or 10am. But by midday, the change is visible: a tangible weariness comes over them, even more so on hot days. And then, when you get them home, you need to work fast, gutting and opening them like butterflies, then baking, braising, or – best of all – dipping them in flour and frying until they curl. Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 9:01 am
Returning to work after furlough can be a worry. But thanks to safety measures put in place, a branch of David Abrahamovitch’s coffee chain is welcoming back happy customers and staff
- This article relates to returning to work in England only; other regions have different guidance. You should confirm with your employer the steps it is taking regarding returning to work
For David Abrahamovitch, founder of cult coffee brand Grind, the decision to close his London-based food, coffee and cocktail bars was a painful one – and the decision to reopen one branch as a takeaway outlet on 20 May took even more careful planning.
Nearly a quarter of employees across Britain have been furloughed, with 6.3m jobs put on hold since the wage subsidy scheme was launched on 20 April. These workers have been receiving 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month, to stay at home and keep safe. But now lockdown is beginning to ease, and some of us who can’t work from home are returning, businesses such as Grind are working hard to keep staff and customers safe. Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 7:45 am
Evie Hirst, 26, and Jim Moston, 31, met at Glastonbury in 2016. They are currently isolating in Salzburg, Austria, where he is working
When Jim Moston decided to volunteer as a litter picker at Glastonbury in 2016, he wasn’t expecting more than a fun weekend. “You get free food and showers and it’s a great way to see the festival,” he says. On Sunday afternoon, he and some friends let off steam with a drinking session. “We’d bought a box of wine and found an old backpack, so we strapped it to my friend’s front like a pair of udders,” he says, laughing.
It wasn’t long before they bumped into Evie. “They asked if I’d ever been breastfed wine by a man and whether I’d like to be,” says Evie. “It was one of those silly things that only happens at Glastonbury.” Jim took photographs while Evie posed with his friend. “It seemed like it would be a funny story,” she says. Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 7:00 am
In this weekly series, readers tell us about their favourite trees. This week: a beech in Lincolnshire
When Liz Dixon-Spain got married in 1967, there was only one place where she wanted to celebrate – in her parent’s garden with this beautiful beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) overlooking the festivities. She planted daffodils around it just for the occasion. “It felt wonderful having the tree in the background,” says the 73-year-old from South Holland, Lincolnshire. “I have been friends with it all my life.”
Holding wedding receptions in the garden has become something of a family tradition, with her two sisters also celebrating their nuptials next to the tree in 1974 and then 1977. The beech has been a constant presence in her family’s lives. “It is part of all of our family memories because they all happened around the tree,” Liz says. Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 4:29 am
After circumnavigating the world solo at 16, spending 20 weeks in space, and summiting Everest (twice), Jessica Watson, Andy Thomas and Peter Hillary have learned a lot about life after isolation
The New Zealand mountaineer Peter Hillary, who has twice reached the summit of Mount Everest and once spent 84 days trekking across Antarctica to the south pole, knows all too well what it feels like to return to “normal life” after an extended period of isolation.
“It can be a shock,” he says. “While you’re away you get used to a certain kind of predictability and a new set of routines and then all of a sudden you’re back. And it can be quite confronting.” Continue reading...
June 1st 2020, 4:29 am
Many black nature-lovers have to employ defense mechanisms – lest a situation turn sticky and they have to answer questions from a suspecting police officer
It was 2011 when Rue Mapp was followed by a white woman in an Oakland, California, park, while out on a national campaign to get local families connected with nature.
The woman had spotted the group en route to the park and decided to follow them. When they got off the bus, she followed them all the way through the park, and when they began to play in the dirt, she started to harass them. She claimed they were bringing “invasive species” into the park. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 11:30 am
Coronavirus is driving more and more of us on to bikes. Here’s how to take the pain out of the commute or a night out
Desperate to get the country moving again, the government is promising a new era for cyclists, with pop-up bike lanes, car-free corridors and major investment to make roads safer across the UK. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to be forced to see the light. My own cycling conversion happened back in 2003, when the London congestion charge made it no longer possible to drive for free through the capital. I swore I would never pay it – and I never have.
Given the far bigger incentive of the Covid-19 crisis, this seems a rather shaming admission, except that it makes me an outlier. Most converts quickly fall by the wayside, but – apart from the occasional snowstorm, the odd multi-journey morning – I have never wavered, and that is because I’m not a zealot but a cycling pragmatist. I don’t cover huge distances – around 40-50 miles in a normal working week – but they are miles free from traffic jams and overstuffed tubes, and give me regular exercise while delivering me to my destination at a speed considerably faster than the seven-minute urban car mile. So if coronavirus is encouraging you to rethink how you get around, here are my top tips for a long and happy life on two wheels. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 11:30 am
What happens when your natural sleeping pattern is at odds with the rest of the world?
For as long as she can remember, Jenny Carter has gone to bed late and not woken up until late the following morning, sometimes even the early afternoon. Growing up, she didn’t have a bedtime, and at university she preferred to write her essays between 6pm and 10pm. She loves evenings. They’re when she feels the most creative and can concentrate the best. But that’s not when her employer or society expects her to be productive.
“Going to bed at a ‘normal’ time feels so unnatural to me,” she says. “But society just doesn’t cater for people whose sleep cycle doesn’t fit the generic 9 to 5.” She has got into trouble at work for her timekeeping, which has led to disciplinary action. “I’ve had to write off so many events, meetings and opportunities, because they were in the morning and I just knew I wouldn’t be awake.” Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 8:24 am
From school to festivals, young people are missing so much – and all they get for their troubles is to spend more timewith their parents
However the current tussle between government, unions and teachers concludes, realistically there will be little or no “real” school before September, and none for my lads who, at 16 and 18, were supposed to be finishing exams and enjoying some kind of “legendary summer” (weeks in a dimly lit basement playing video games, sunburn at a festival and some kind of boring low-paid job, realistically).
This isn’t me having a controversial opinion about schools going back: I really don’t; it’s an impossible situation. I’m just desperately sad that we are where we are. It doesn’t inconvenience me personally, really. I barely see my boys for huge stretches of the day and I’m happy when I do. They’re lovely company, though the nine-meals-a-day regime is a drain on wallet and kitchen and I reflexively flinch now when I hear the words “What’s for lunch?” What makes me sad is that we are such a poor, inadequate substitute for what young people want and need: each other, the opportunity to do stupid stuff far from the parental gaze, and other adults. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 6:09 am
Sick of 2020? Growing numbers of people are turning back the hands of time, drawn by a retro aesthetic and a comforting sense of nostalgia
Every Saturday evening, a suburban street in Greater Manchester bears witness to a peculiar sight: at the first-floor bay window of a 1930s semi, top-hatted heads bow over a platter of Victoria sponge slices, silhouetted against the sepia light of a gasoline lamp. Eavesdroppers might even catch the strains of Gilbert and Sullivan issuing from an 1890s gramophone as Michael Koropisz, a 24-year-old portrait artist who goes about his daily life as if he’s a well-to-do Briton of the 1890s, stages a tea party for fellow Victorian enthusiasts.
“We do get children pointing and laughing, and passersby taking selfies in front of us,” says Koropisz, who wears a top hat and 120-year-old frock coat, and adheres to a “pious” code of conduct. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 6:09 am
The world’s most in-demand fitness instructors are ready to raise your pulse. Push back the sofa, pump up the volume and move your body
Texan yoga guru Adriene Mishler is one of the best things to have come out of the Lone Star State since Dr Pepper. Unpreachy but wise, “the people’s yogi” keeps it real with mismatched outfits, a nice line in self-effacement and a zen pooch called Benji, often found chilling mat-side. The living-room sessions, suitable for beginners and advanced practitioners, open up with “What’s up, my friends!” and last from five minutes to an hour. Tailored to just about every ailment or state of mind out there, there’s yoga for writers, for productivity, for bedtime, for joggers, for stress relief, weight loss, back pain, vulnerability and self-respect. Charming and calming, she offers herself as a “buddy”. When “shit hits the fan, I have your back.” YouTube, free. Find What Feels Good subscription, £8.15 p/m Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 5:54 am
The forward for England and Olympique Lyonnais practises shooting in the garden, and has discovered the joy of reading
How does Sunday start? Before lockdown I’d have a bit of a lie-in after Saturday’s match, then arrive at the Lyon training ground at 10am-ish for breakfast and a warm down.
And during lockdown? I’m back at home in Liverpool with my mum, who is a key worker healthcare assistant, enjoying some home comforts and trying to improve my French with Duolingo. I’m not brilliant, but my French teammates have made a big effort to learn more English, so I’m trying to push on. I did try to teach them a few Scouse phrases, but no one understood me. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 5:54 am
I can’t wait for the day we can visit friends and family, so we can take our time saying goodbye
Even with the relaxation of the rules – with wording vague enough I reckon I could avoid trouble for anything short of French-kissing a policeman – we’ve not visited anyone. This is partly because we’re so self-absorbed and partly because we don’t drive, cycle or move particularly efficiently with a toddler who seems hell-bent on impeding any forward movement. But we have been visited by a few people.
Social-distance visiting is obviously fraught – not least because we’re not really sure what the rules are. At time of writing we’ve spoken with my brother Dara and his wife, Penny, and their kids, Aoife, Cormac and Donncha. All separated by 2m, with us sitting on our doorstep and them at our gate. Our son seems less invested in these appearances than we do, preferring to blithely scan his cousin’s faces the way you do when you’re not sure whether your cousin’s date is the one you met at the last wedding, or if he just has incredibly specific taste in women. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 5:54 am
Move over Mosel. Scheurebe is the fresh and aromatic white you’ll want to sip as the temperature soars
Weegmüller Scheurebe Trocken, Pfalz, Germany 2018 (from £17.70, corkingwines.co.uk; strictlywine.co.uk) German winemakers are behind so many of the world’s finest white wines. Many of them – the majority probably – are made from the country’s most recognisable variety, riesling. But there’s much to love for those many wine drinkers who for some reason are allergic to riesling’s sharp, quicksilver charms. One very underrated variety is scheurebe, a prejudice, perhaps, borne of the variety’s origins: while riesling has a pedigree going back to the middle ages, scheurebe emerged from a grape-breeding institute, the work of one Dr Georg Scheu, in 1916. A century on, there isn’t all that much about (1,400 hectares or so to riesling’s 24,000ha), but what there is can make some delightful wines. Weegmüller’s dry white from the Pfalz, the south western German region where scheurebe is at its best, shows off the characteristics that can make it such a pleasure: intensely, clean and pure grapefruit and orange citrus with a seasoning of peppery spice.
Horst Sauer Escherndorfer Lump Silvaner S Trocken, Franken, Germany 2018 (£19.49, rannochscott.co.uk; cellarselected.com) During the 20th century, scheurebe also made its way west from the Pfalz to the Franconia or Franken region, an historic German wine producing zone that has been somewhat overshadowed in recent years by the famed riesling havens further north in the Rheingau and Mosel. At the Wirsching estate, they’ve had scheurebe since 1952, and the old vines (“alte reben”) used for their Wirsching Iphöfer Kronsberg Scheurebe Alte Reben Trocken 2017 (£25.35, thewinebarn.co.uk) make for a gorgeously rich dry wine with that racy grapefruit tang underpinning fleshy peachy and tropical fruit. Franken is actually better known for another white variety beginning with S. A wine of subtle charms rather than big fruit flavour, top quality Silvaner like Horst Sauer’s example from one of the best vineyard sites for the variety near Wurzburg, has a gentle blossomy prettiness and a springtime river raciness all its own. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 5:54 am
Some dining rooms in hotels can be magnificent. But at other places it’s very quickly time to check out
On 4 May, London’s Claridge’s hotel posted a picture of the main restaurant to their Instagram account, celebrating Star Wars Day. It featured some of their restaurant staff, who have been feeding NHS workers housed there during the current crisis, dressed as socially distanced stormtroopers, with a sign reading “May the force be with you.” It made me smile. Indeed, it struck me that, despite having eaten in that dining room many times throughout its various incarnations, this was the most fun I’d ever seen anyone having there.
Ah, the hotel restaurant: the hospitality business’s version of the casino slot machine. You never know whether it will deliver, but you keep pulling on the handle hopefully. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve eaten very good things in restaurants located within hotels. Earlier this year, I delivered one long wet-lipped eulogy for a dish served in that very Claridge’s space, which is currently Davies and Brook, from chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York. He has brought with him his dry-aged duck breast with a sweet-sour, blood-enriched sauce. It was love at first lick. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 5:54 am
Local firms offering high interest rates are selling a better way to rebuild the UK after Covid. But there are risks
From using a pub’s takeaway service to donating to an under-threat arts venue, one of the many side-effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been a renewed sense of community in supporting local businesses and projects. And, in a growing number of cases, those companies are now asking the public to buy shares in order to help them survive and grow.
For a minimum investment of what can be a few pounds, there is frequently a promise of healthy returns. And at a time when the rates on savings are in the doldrums, that will be attractive to many. Several schemes offer as much as 5% a year, far above the 0.01% that some high street savings accounts pay. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 5:54 am
Being trapped at home brutally exposes so many of the shortcomings of our lives and relationships, says Mariella Frostrup. But it’s also a great chance to change the things that are making us unhappy
The dilemma The lockdown has made it crushingly obvious how few friends I have, and I feel depressed and lonely. It feels as if everyone else is having Zoom parties, quizzes and virtual meet-ups, while I’m sending the odd message and going to bed early after spending the day talking to no one except my partner and one-year-old. In normal life, interactions with colleagues and “mum friends” helped disguise the fact I don’t foster close relationships. Now that it’s all about keeping in touch, there aren’t many people who are bothered about a catch-up with me.
I feel like a big part of it is caused by my relationship. I used to have an active social life, but when I left a very outgoing partner 10 years ago for my current one, that ended. He’s awkward, a terrible drunk and not as cool, so friends slipped away. I feel resentful towards him – as if he’s led me to a life of loneliness. Continue reading...
May 31st 2020, 1:09 am
From the waist up – which is often all that matters in lockdown Britain – big and bold is best in the fashion stakes
A look that brings to mind either William Shakespeare or Harry Hill is not one that immediately suggests sophisticated glamour. But big collars are having a resurgence, this time on women’s dresses, tops and jumpsuits.
The current look is less Renaissance bard and more pious puritan, and can be dramatic in scale, reaching the shoulders or even down to the belly button. Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 1:02 pm
As more of us wear face masks and rely on eye contact, how will it change the way we relate to each other
A conversation with a girlfriend when I was in Italy a few weeks ago got me thinking about the latest new norm of the post-coronavirus society: enhanced eye contact. She had told me how, standing in the endless queue for the supermarket, wearing her mask, she had caught the eye of a handsome man in another loop of the queue and found herself engaged in a wordless flirtation carried out just with the eyes from a distance. After this, she had taken to piling on extra eyeliner and mascara.
“What I am saving in not buying lipstick I am spending on those full-volume mascaras,” she said, laughing. Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 12:14 pm
From an aristocratic writer to a woolly sculpin: test your knowledge with the Weekend quiz
1 Which aristocratic writer fronted the band Decca and the Dectones? Continue reading...
2 What is the longest river on the Iberian peninsula?
3 During the world wars, what was the WLA?
4 What line precedes, “Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring”?
5 Which pub name celebrates Charles II’s hiding place?
6 What type of artwork comprises tesserae?
7 What nocturnal primate is named from the Dutch for “clown”?
8 What country calls itself the Bolivarian Republic?
9 London (1); Liverpool (6); Milan (10); Madrid (13)?
10 Geographic; magnetic; geomagnetic?
11 US TV; Dutch Caribbean; solved by Poirot; Sheffield group?
12 Riddley Walker; A Clockwork Orange; The Wake?
13 Loop; arch; whorl?
14 Lungfish; mudskipper; northern snakehead; woolly sculpin?
15 Mojang; Valve; EA; Rockstar?
May 30th 2020, 4:11 am
Lockdown has prompted a surge of support for the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild campaign for simple nature activities
Try “the snail” during a “wildlife pose” yoga session outdoors. Walk barefoot on the grass in a local park. Go on a rainbow hunt in your garden. Make bird feeders. Count moths. Dance in the rain. Turn off all your devices and enjoy the silence.
People are pledging to undertake daily “random acts of wildness” throughout June as part of a burgeoning campaign to appreciate local nature and benefit from time in green space. Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 3:11 am
‘The hardest part is the loneliness. It falls on me to try to educate our children and manage our dwindling finances’: the letter you always wanted to write
I’m sitting with the folding doors open, appreciating the sunshine while you sleep in, yet again. Our children have been excitedly planning how they will win the water fight you promised to have with them at 10am. Now, at 11.30am, they are feeling despondent.
We have been together for more than 20 years and parents for nearly nine, and you have always been a problem drinker. The drunkest man at every party, falling over and acting obnoxiously – an embarrassment, and a total contrast to the sweet, kind and fun person you are when sober. The person I glimpse every day before you go to work gives me hope that, if you could just stick with sobriety, family life would be joyful. Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 2:06 am
Millennials are said to be more narcissistic than any other cohort of society. A self-confessed self-obsessive works out whether that’s a problem
I was on the phone to a friend recently, blathering away as usual, when I realised that there was no one on the other end of the line. How long ago had this happened? I checked my phone and discovered, to my horror, that the call had ended almost five minutes ago.
In the pub with another friend, not long after this incident, I asked how self-obsessed she thinks I am – a question only self-obsessed people ask, along with our other hobbies: stalking ourselves on social media and planning our own funerals. Without deliberation, she concluded that I was an 8.5 out of 10. “OK…” I reeled, deeply offended. “But I ask about you too, right? I am a good friend?” Quickly, the subject was changed. Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 2:06 am
If you live in chaos, you can get a decent cardio workout just by tidying, moving things at speed off the floor of one room and into another
A couple of years ago, I was trying to place the entire fitness industry on the arc of feminism, with my friend who’s an aerobics teacher. What does it mean, if we’re all dropping a load of time and money trying to hone our glutes? Is it straight objectification? (Must look better to fit society’s view of female form! Must be best self to maximise market value in a neoliberal frame!) Or is it a story of emancipation and strength? (I don’t need a man – I can push over a car using only my thighs.) She said, “You’re partly looking at an aerobics class full of women who no longer do their own housework. The amount of physical activity is the same in a class, it’s just that nothing gets any cleaner.” So really it was more of a Marxist question than a feminist one, but never mind that now.
What I’ve been ruminating on recently is the question: is the amount of energy you expend cleaning the same as an aerobics class? Well, one: only if you plan it to be. Two: there will be gaps in the workout, but you can fill those with bodyweight bolt-ons. Three: cleaning demands – craves – music, because it otherwise drops to a sedate pace. I’d even suggest making some 20-minute 160BPM playlists. (I’ve got a musicals playlist, and everyone hates it: my mister because he hates musicals, the children because they say every time they hear The Greatest Showman, they know I’m going to be in a really self-righteous mood. This doesn’t deter me, as I am possessed by my own righteousness.) Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 2:06 am
Rachel, 33, a project support officer from Manchester, meets Rydian, 33, a film-maker and actor from Cambridgeshire
What were you hoping for? Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 2:06 am
I look down to see a puddle of glue forming on the ground, and the tortoise lapping at it. ‘What are you doing!’ I scream
It’s a curious side-effect of lockdown living: my survival instinct is beginning to desert me. It’s not an intentional recklessness; it’s more as if I’ve lost my sense of smell, but for danger instead of curdled milk.
I first noticed it a few weeks back, while nailing some bunting to the front of the house at my wife’s direction. I got to the top rung of the ladder – hammer in one hand, the end of the bunting clamped between my teeth – and looked down. Continue reading...
May 30th 2020, 2:06 am
When Paul Elgee closed his family’s restaurant, Myra’s Kaiseki, he felt as if a ‘dark cloud’ was hanging over the business and its staff. But thanks to the furlough scheme and the Small Business Grant Fund he can now plan ahead
Springtime is generally boom time for the hospitality industry. The four-day weekend of Easter, plus Mother’s Day and two bank holidays in May, see many people celebrating with meals out. But this year in March, just as restaurants and bars began to get really busy, Covid-19 took hold.
“We were on the crest of a wave,” says Paul Elgee, director of Myra’s Kaiseki, a restaurant in Dorchester. “We were fully booked, and with stock in ready for a big weekend, then we were told we needed to shut. The closure of the restaurant couldn’t have come at a worse time.” Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 12:27 pm
In families people end up playing roles, says Annalisa Barbieri. Look at what’s happening beneath the surface
I am close to my younger brother and we speak at least once a week. These exchanges usually include his referring to money problems. He and his wife are in their 40s, on good salaries, have two young children and a mortgage. At the end of each month, cash is unavailable and they have been caught out by repayments and large bills. I have happily bailed them out on a couple of occasions, but worry about their long-term stability.
It seems to me that they need to review their finances, cut back a little on outgoings and put away a small amount each month. I’ve tried to gently suggest this but, understandably, my brother wants sympathy rather than financial advice. If we get on to this subject, he tends to say, “You’ve had it easier than me.” This is true in some ways, and reopens a general feeling that our parents believe me to be a sensible success and my brother a bit careless, despite his steady family life and well-paid job. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 10:56 am
In difficult times, it’s easy to feel at the mercy of big forces, but we’re more resourceful than we think
“What brings you here?” is the question, according to cliche, with which therapists always begin a first session with a client (or did, anyway, until sessions all moved on to Zoom). But in the 1970s, a therapist based in Milwaukee, Steve de Shazer, began to experiment with another approach. Instead of the standard question – which is pretty much destined to get clients detailing their problems – he started asking what not having problems would look like. Over time, one version of this inquiry became codified as the Miracle Question, which runs as follows: “Suppose that one night, while you were asleep, there was a miracle, and this problem was solved. How would you know? What would be different?”
To be honest, this sort of thing raises my hackles. It smacks of magical thinking, and positive visualisation, and somehow catapulting yourself out of the real circumstances of your life (including your rung on the economic ladder) into a realm of unalloyed bliss. But that wasn’t what happened. More often than not, Shazer’s clients came up with strikingly modest visions. In their imagined miracle worlds, one client might wake up and realise she looked forward to the day, instead of dreading it. Another would find that when she talked to her children, they responded; another might find herself standing up to a workplace bully. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 10:56 am
All my attempts at intimacy have been fraught with shame and secrecy
Beginning with my rape at 14, sex has been a disturbing, sometimes violent and always unfulfilling experience. To the outside world, I have it together: a solid job I am good at, a caring ex-partner and two beautiful children. Yet, all my attempts at intimacy have been fraught with shame, secrecy and a lack of authenticity.
Most recently, I reconnected with an older man I met four years ago. I rebuffed his advances first time round; for reasons I am still unsure of, I pursued him this time. I thought the disclosure of my vulnerability and my history of abuse would ensure he would treat me respectfully and with care. I was wrong. The sex felt forceful and, during oral intercourse, I became so distressed that my bladder, weakened by childbirth, lost control and I wet the bed. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 9:55 am
Supermarkets love the stuff, but there are many more interesting, summery wines out there, from picpoul and albariño to carricante and aligoté
Do you remember the ABC movement a few years back, when we were all asking restaurants for anything but chardonnay (while still, typically, claiming that we liked chablis, which is, of course, made from the chardonnay grape). Now it seems that ABSB (anything but sauvignon blanc) would be more appropriate, although I know it has its die-hard fans.
Supermarkets love the stuff, because it sells by the crateload, but there are so many more interesting wines out there to enjoy, my latest enthusiasm being aligoté. Some of you may shudder at the thought, remembering the tooth-strippingly acidic wines of your youth, made drinkable only by adding a good slosh of cassis. These days, however, there are some very fine examples, as I was reminded recently by a young French importer, Léa Delacourcelle of Déjà Bu Wines. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 9:55 am
I look back on pre-lockdown Romesh as some sort of caffeine-fearing dweeb. There is no stopping me, now
Back in the old days, I drank a lot of coffee. I basically ran on it. I am a terrible sleeper and regularly tackle days on three to four hours of sleep. The only way I can survive this is by drinking so much coffee that my synapses crackle and I take on the irritability levels of a bear in a trap. I thought nothing of buying a large average-quality coffee to tide me over until I got to another coffee shop where I could buy one I would actually enjoy.
Today I look back on pre-lockdown Romesh as some sort of caffeine-fearing dweeb. There is no stopping me, now that I am never farther than a few feet away from more coffee. I switch on my pod machine, and savour every drop of black gold, ignoring the fact that I have no intention of composting the pods, which renders buying environmentally friendly ones completely pointless. My every cup is essentially a middle finger to mother nature. This very publication has published numerous articles about the fact that, if you use a coffee pod machine, you are two rungs below Katie Hopkins on the sliding scale of evil. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 9:55 am
He is psychologically abusive towards me but treats her much better. How can I stop thinking about them and be happy?
My partner has been living a double life. Recently, he was checking his emails on my laptop, but didn’t log out. I discovered that he has been seeing another woman for years. He has been spending half of his time living at hers.
We previously broke up because he was cheating on me. His behaviour towards me can only be described as psychologically abusive. To the outside world, he is the life and soul of the party, but the real him is very different. He is very controlling, checks my mobile phone and constantly makes cruel remarks. While he has been treating me badly, he has been treating her much better; when I was having radiotherapy for breast cancer, they went on holiday together. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 9:55 am
Now that the potato season is more established, it’s time to experiment with a warm potato salad and brown-buttered roasties
I’ve been spending lockdown with my parents, who eat a lot of potatoes. They have them once a day it seems, so I’ve been baking them, boiling them, making wedges, salads, rostis and fries … Few things can top the year’s first boiled, buttered and lightly minted jersey royals – so small and so sweet – but now that the season is more established, I’m free to experiment. Here are two new ways to please the potato enthusiasts among you – my parents included. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 9:55 am
We would go out for hours at night hunting. I was so proud when he killed his first rodent by himself
I joined the army shortly after leaving school. Initially I enjoyed the feeling of brotherhood but, seven months after joining, I was deployed to Afghanistan. In the first week, I saw someone get shot in the head, and held his arm while he died. I was 18 years old. In the six months I was there, I experienced horrific events which led me to question my purpose in life.
I’ve suffered with depression in the past, but when I returned to England, I struggled with PTSD. After being medically discharged, I searched online for ways to help out in the Amazon and came across a volunteer organisation called Fauna Forever, in Peru. I booked a flight with the small payout I’d fought for. I wanted to help animals but, ultimately, I went to Peru with the intention of ending my life. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 9:55 am
‘The most useful thing Dominic Cummings could do for his country right now is to flout lockdown again, only this time do it in a pub’
In case you’ve not noticed, going out – the comeback – has started. I have been out, and I’m not sure I like it. The new world has lots of rules and they’re largely opaque. And the dining out options are lousy. I began with a trip to a newly reopened fish and chip shop in Chingford, while resembling an extra from prison camp drama Tenko, hair-styling, mascara and bra-wearing having fallen off my agenda several months ago. Nowadays, only Rita Ora and women on TikTok wear actual makeup. The rest of us have grown too accustomed to not caring. Pre-lockdown, I wore more makeup than your average rodeo clown; right now, bothering even to tweezer a division in my monobrow feels fancy.
No one will see me in the chip shop, anyway. The rules – because there are chip shop rules these days – say queuing in a confined space is forbidden. “Two people only permitted inside the shop,” the sign said. Everyone found this confusing. Did that mean two people from one household? Or two strangers? Did it mean that, if two people were inside the shop, I could stand outside and shout my order? Everyone’s confusion about the new rules made the woman serving us livid. Although I’m not sure if she was mad about us breaking the rules or mad that the rules meant she had to wear a mask.
Alas, those chips, which I’d dreamed about and plotted over for more than 60 days, were lukewarm and soggy by the time I’d driven them home. The rules strictly forbid leaning against the ledge eating them hot and fresh in the chip shop while helping yourself to extra salt and vinegar, which, now that I think about it, was one of life’s sweetest, simplest pleasures. Yes, eating in a layby is, technically, permitted, but let’s face it, I’d look like a carb-loading dogger. I’m trying hard to love life in the new world, but my feelings are presently tepid.
Along with chip shops and takeaway coffee, we seem to have been given back the right to have picnics. This is great news for fans of eating Sainsbury’s coleslaw somewhere that has no working toilet, throwing a scotch egg into a bush to re-route hornets, drinking too much warm rosé with friends of friends you have never really liked, and inevitably stinging your va-jay-jay on nettles while weeing. It’s a no from me, but many people are devotees. The rule seems to be that you can eat mini-quiches outdoors, but mind who you do it with. And do not, whatever you do, attempt to use a picnic bench in the park for your picnic, because they’re all still taped up like crime scenes.
It could be time for us to question many of these things, and what we possibly need right now are more rule-breakers. The most useful thing Dominic Cummings could do for his country right now is to flout lockdown again, only this time do it in a pub beer garden. He needs to take one for the team. There are few sadder sights across the land than these much-loved but now abandoned sun traps, their tatty wooden benches baking indolently in the sun. All these unseasonably glorious May days have been going to waste, and for a man so fiercely Brexit, that is about as anti-British as it gets. I drove past a dozen pubs on my way home with my lukewarm chips, and my heart was colder still. Continue reading...
Cummings’ last jaunt made us question our pilfered right to wander in forests and even take a pleasant day trip to Barnard Castle, but we need him for a much bigger job. He should start this Saturday morning with a swift drink on the lovely sun terrace outside the The Albion in Islington, before sinking four or so more – possibly with his top off – over lunchtime.
Yes, the fallout would be incendiary, but once the quacking had stopped, something magical might happen. Perhaps we could prise these spaces open again. Although we’re grateful for car showrooms and golf clubs, these things mean nothing to the majority. And, obviously, there would need to be some rules – most of us have proved we’re good at following those – but there would also be cloudy cider with friends, giant Jenga, hot chips in a plastic basket, cheap ketchup in sachets, bad jokes and lots of sunburned forearms. Things will move on, but I know I will never take my right to loiter and languish, to laugh with friends or to drink lager from a pint glass for granted ever again.
May 29th 2020, 5:24 am
To meet rising demand for animal companions in lockdown, Public Animal Shelter in Rio de Janeiro allows people to check the profiles of available cats and dogs via social media. It then delivers the chosen pet to their new home Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 3:54 am
The Bike Station, a Scottish bicycle recycling charity, is offering free bikes to NHS staff and other key workers during the coronanvirus crisis. Photographs by Murdo MacLeod
A chance to clear the head after a stressful day; a safe and speedy means of travel in these anxious times; the opportunity to explore a longer-term lifestyle change: bicycles mean many different things to the frontline workers in Edinburgh and Perth who have taken delivery of hundreds of so-called hero bikes. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 3:24 am
A lot of people love getting home and putting the kettle on. But I love what happens before that, the transition
There is a reason plenty of feelgood films close with a completed trip; the end of a journey. A wide-angle shot of a bunch of festival-tired friends, heads leaning against one another; the close-up of a protagonist looking out of a plane window, a smile spreading across their face. Unlike so much that appears on screen, I know both these shots to be tangible and true.
A lot of people associate the good feeling of returning from a trip with switching the lights on, dumping luggage in the hall, putting the kettle on and breathing in the marinade smells of home. But that isn’t coming home; that is arriving home. Continue reading...
May 29th 2020, 3:06 am
While we can’t go to Wimbledon, Notting Hill carnival or Glyndebourne this year, we can still enjoy the food and drink of our favourite events
This is set to be a summer like no other. All major events are cancelled and a holiday abroad looks doubtful. But all is not lost. Summer’s top pastimes nearly always involve food – picnics, ice cream, Pimm’s! – and there is no reason to bypass the season’s al fresco delights, even if you do end up consuming them on your window ledge.
Maybe there won’t be big weddings this summer, maybe there won’t be carnival parades – but oh there will be burritos. Here, chefs show how to recreate the taste of summer from the comfort of your own home. Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 12:00 pm
If ‘haircut’ has been the most Googled beauty treatment in lockdown, it is the fringe that has had the most attention. From Normal People to Angela Rayner, DIY bangs are the new normal
As our contact with the outside world shrinks to the size of a screen, once-private things have been pushed to the fore.
Our bookshelves, formerly unseen by our co-workers, have become pregnant with meaning. Our tired faces, once optimised for the workplace with concealer and a fancy neckline, are beginning to crack after one too many Zoom meetings. For those of us working from home, headshots are the new hemlines. Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 12:00 pm
Shabbat for me used to mean a break from screens, but as I drop into synagogues all over North America, I’m reminded we’re all in this together
Before the pandemic, Shabbat for me meant a break from screens. My synagogue, housed in a century-old building on a residential street in a quiet Toronto neighbourhood, observes the ancient laws that prohibit the use of technology on the Sabbath. A few Saturdays a month, I used to dress up, walk to shul (synagogue), and leave the frenetic demands of the secular, wired world behind. Since the pandemic shut the doors to my synagogue, I reluctantly turned to online shul to fill the void. Shabbat by Zoom, it turns out, is unexpectedly nourishing.
Last month, the leaders of the conservative movement of Judaism gave rabbis the green light to livestream on Shabbat. Thousands of Jews around the world are just now discovering the joy of virtual worship, known to more liberal Jews for years. In fact, Zoom Shabbat has some distinct advantages over in-real-life congregation. If a sermon is boring, I’ll hop over to a different one. If I don’t like the voice of one cantor, I’ll close the tab and find another. Attendance is anonymous. No one notices if you show up late or leave early. I’ve dropped into synagogues all over North America.
Virtual shul helps me mark the passing of time. Because I no longer drop my kids off to school or ride the subway to work, the days tend blend into each other. Virtual shul helps make Shabbat morning feel special. On Saturdays, we sleep in. My husband works on a cryptic crossword. Mid-morning, I recite Shabbat prayers with other people, just like before the pandemic, only now I don’t dress up or leave the house. I open my laptop at my kitchen table in my yoga pants, or sometimes in bed. My seven-year-old daughter colours beside me, and the two of us sing along to familiar melodies. Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 12:00 pm
Coronavirus is keeping grandparents away from their newborn grandchildren for months, or more if a vaccine is not found
“I hate it!” says Jim Clinton jocularly of the lockdown. “I hate not being able to see the grandchildren … not being able to see a newborn baby is one of those things as a grandparent you don’t really contemplate happening. You can’t imagine you won’t be there to experience those early days up close and personal.”
Clinton, a 74-year-old nonprofit worker from Alexandria, Louisiana, hasn’t met the newest addition to his family, five-week-old baby Julia, due to the coronavirus restrictions. His son Ryan and daughter-in-law Sarah had baby Julia on 23 April. Julia is their third child, and under normal circumstances Clinton and his wife Susan would have visited as soon as possible after the birth. Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 11:10 am
Missing your pre-lockdown workout? With gyms, pools and squash courts still closed, there’s a replacement right outside your door. Experienced runners explain how to get started – and stay motivated
The gyms, pools and squash courts are shut. Joe Wicks is showing you how to get fit in your living room, but really all you want to do is get out of your living room. Now is the time to go for a run.
If you are worried you’re not a running type, don’t be. I wasn’t either until I decided that I didn’t feel safe going to the gym in mid-March. Eight weeks later, I finished my first half-hour run, covering an apparently respectable 4.83km in the process. Almost anyone can be a runner, it turns out. So why not give it a try? Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 11:10 am
As the owner of East Lothian gastropub the Mercat Grill, Graham Blaikie has had to adapt his business to survive. Here, he tells Sophie Goddard how he’s keeping not only his pub afloat, but is helping out the people – and animals – around him, too ...
For thousands of small business owners, the global pandemic has flung their futures – and those of their staff – into uncertainty. That’s certainly true for Graham Blaikie, and his pub the Mercat Grill in Whitecraig, Scotland. “I’d been watching the news about Covid-19 since December and luckily we’d prepared,” he explains. “Even before we closed, we had contactless hand sanitisers and I was always wiping down handles and menus. I’d also removed items from tables, so there weren’t as many touch points.” But when Boris Johnson’s March announcement saw pubs and restaurants close to the public, the business that had taken Blaikie nine years to build was suddenly forced to adapt for survival.
The first step was ensuring customers could still enjoy the food they loved. “Prior to the shutdown, we’d been talking about what our strategy would be – I bought containers and had our takeaway menu prepped, so we were ahead of the game”, he says of being ready for business the next day. “We had a lot of fresh food in the pub, so on the Saturday we started the takeaway system.” But it wasn’t without its problems. “It’s not as easy as you think doing takeaway food, especially restaurant-style. When people order with us they’re having haggis cigars, patties, fish and chips, pepper beef with rice and my mum’s desserts ... that’s six different containers at least. We spent about £2,000 on takeaway boxes initially, that’s a lot of money. But it’s hopefully keeping us going.” Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 7:54 am
Following reports worldwide, experts are warning that pandemic is pushing back progress on prenatal and maternity care
After Denisa’s son was born premature at 26 weeks she was unable to hold him, but spent as much time as possible near his incubator so he could get used to her voice. By the time he was well enough to be held by his mother, a state of emergency had been declared in Slovakia and Denisa was told to vacate her bed and leave the hospital to make way for Covid-19 patients.
The rush of patients never came, but strict rules meant she was unable to see her baby until he was discharged six weeks later. “Instead of a hug, I went home empty-handed only with my head full of questions,” she says. “Each day without my baby was taking away my strength and harming my mental health.” Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 4:05 am
As Australia eases restrictions on social visits, the pressure from loved ones to maintain (or break) distancing recommendations can be hard to handle
Two months ago, the rules were tough but clear. Stay home. No visitors. No hugs or physical contact with people outside your house. Now, with restrictions lifting, what was once black and white is a patchwork of shades.
People are making difficult decisions around visiting family and friends. Who makes the cut? How many is too many? Who gets a hug and who doesn’t? Some are choosing to hug – or impulsively hugging in the moment – and then feeling confused or guilty about it. Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 3:37 am
Lockdown has reminded us of the pleasures of walking. But making small changes can boost its benefits to our health, mood and creativity, too
As a form of physical activity, it is easy to dismiss walking as, well, pedestrian. But now its benefits, both physical and mental, are being appreciated once again. Under lockdown, daily walks became sacred. Now they are the safest way to commute, and, for those stuck at home, there is little place else to go other than to wander the streets, forests, towpaths, cemeteries and eerily deserted business quarters.
We have become nosy tourists in our own neighbourhoods. We seek out less-travelled backwaters, eyeing curiously the fragments of human and animal lives that we pass, gazing on seasonal changes like besotted new parents. But are we walking to the best of our abilities? Possibly not. Sports scientist Joanna Hall has dedicated her career to coaching people in how to walk the way their bodies were designed to, which no longer comes easily in this sedentary, screen-based era. Continue reading...
May 28th 2020, 3:37 am
With his business Beyond Adventure having to close its doors due to the coronavirus crisis, Ross Dempster was worried how his team would survive. He explains how the furlough scheme has given him hope
For some people it can take decades to discover their true passion, but for Ross Dempster, managing director of Beyond Adventure, an outdoor adventure company in Perthshire, Scotland, he knew from the get-go that he wasn’t made for a life clocking up the hours in an office. In fact, it wasn’t long after university that he made the bold decision to switch his career.
“I tried to work in an office for a short time,” he says, recalling a stint with his father at an Edinburgh-based financial services company. “I was described as the man who looked the most uncomfortable in a suit.” Continue reading...
May 27th 2020, 7:56 am
It’s easy to hide from money woes, especially when you have had a wage cut. But with the economy looking so uncertain, now is the time to get organised
The coronavirus crisis has had a massive impact on people’s finances. For some households, the lockdown has led to a huge drop in income and little prospect of more money coming in any time soon.
Others have been more fortunate and are still earning their salary, but are unable to spend it on the things they would normally buy. One report by investment firm Peel Hunt suggested there could be £80bn of “enforced savings” in people’s accounts by the end of the year. Continue reading...
May 27th 2020, 5:07 am
New characters are forming during the pandemic, from the feminists confused about their new love for traditional gender roles to smug introverts
If this global catastrophe has taught us anything, it’s that we are not always who we think we are. As Pamela Druckerman wrote in a recent essay: “Everyone I know seem[s] to have a new ‘pandemic personality’. A friend who used to complain constantly is now delightful; an intrepid foreign correspondent is these days suddenly afraid to leave his house.”
During the lockdown, you may have discovered your own new personality, and while you may feel it is unique, there are certainly some trends that have emerged.So what’s yours? Choose from the list below, or leave yours in the comments. Continue reading...
May 27th 2020, 4:23 am
Some of us are discovering benefits to life during Covid-19, writes advice columnist Eleanor Gordon-Smith, but that suggests you need to change what ‘normal life’ means for you
While there are many, many people experiencing difficulty with the current situation in having to be physically distant, there are a number of us for whom the current scenario of no regular interpersonal contact – no small talk, hand shakes, cheek-kisses, unexpected visits, customer-facing work roles – is our much preferred environment.
All the focus on mental health at the moment seems to be on those who prefer life as it usually occurs and are struggling with lockdown. Can you dispense some advice for those of us experiencing increasing anxiety or distress at the idea having to leave our peaceful, physically distant existence (notwithstanding the disaster that has predicated it) and return to “normal life”? Continue reading...
May 27th 2020, 4:07 am
You won’t be able to resist this warming veggie midweek dish
Softened onions, a lovingly made sauce and some grated cheese is the perfect base in which to use up any leafy, thick-stemmed greens. Continue reading...
May 26th 2020, 12:56 pm
Just 30 minutes from Durham, the market town featuring Bernard de Balliol’s 12th-century stone castle will be a perfect post-lockdown day trip
Name: Barnard Castle.
Age: 900 years old, give or take. Continue reading...
May 26th 2020, 12:56 pm
The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical concepts
Why don’t tins of paint have a pouring spout? Decanting paint into a roller tray or a smaller tin inevitably ends up with paint all down the side of the tin or worse, elsewhere.
Peter Rance Continue reading...
May 26th 2020, 10:39 am
Plant-based treatments are an integral part of some communities’ approach to health
“Atencion NYC! Starting tonight, at 11.40pm nobody should be on the street! Doors and windows should remain closed as five helicopters spray disinfectants into the air to eradicate the coronavirus!”
This was the text I received from my aunt, who lives in Massachusetts, on 22 March. This was just the beginning of what became daily alerts and advice from various family members and friends, which only got more urgent as the Covid-19 pandemic went on. Continue reading...
May 26th 2020, 10:39 am
I want him to feel he can enjoy lovemaking – how can I encourage him to just relax and be himself?
I have been with my boyfriend for about 10 months, and have never been happier. The only thing is, I feel slightly uncomfortable in the bedroom with him, compared with how I’ve felt in previous relationships. The main issue is that he’s never been vocal during sex. I’ve tried asking him what he likes, and he’s always shrugged it off. It’s making me feel as if I’m not good enough for him. I can’t do anything to please him without knowing what he is into. He has opened up about not being confident about sex in his previous relationship, and that he has been rejected many times, so I think this has something to do with it, but is it a thing that men don’t moan or even speak during sex and foreplay? When we have discussions about sex, I always say to him that I want him to feel more relaxed and confident around me. I know it’s easier said than done, but I really want to help him feel he can be himself and enjoy sex. My boyfriend always ejaculates, so I must be doing something right.
Your boyfriend has already shared his lack of confidence and fear of rejection – and you can assume it will take him some time to become less anxious during sex. He is erotically responsive to you, but he has to bypass his anxiety in order to achieve climax – and that’s not easy for him. And perhaps you, too, lack confidence in your ability to please him and are searching for signs that he is satisfied. Breathe. Don’t push him. Saying: “Try to relax,” will only make him less comfortable. Your best course of action is to praise and encourage him for even small things he does that please you, and express your own pleasure vocally. This will subtly build his sense of sexual efficacy, and eventually he will enjoy it more consistently. However, although some men do express their excitement vocally, most have been taught to be secretive about sex and have learned to suppress expressions of pleasure and be silent. Don’t take this personally. Continue reading...
May 26th 2020, 3:33 am
From stockpiling toilet roll to spending £3,000 on wine, supermarket workers have had to cope with a panicking public – while finding themselves unexpectedly on the frontline
It was Thursday night, 8pm. Clap for our carers: the sound of applause rising in the air. Leila was doing her rounds of the Waitrose in west London where she works as a store supervisor, rounding up the stragglers. An expensively dressed young woman was browsing the aisles. Leila asked her to make her way to the tills, as the store was now closed.
The woman erupted in rage. “She said: ‘There’s a fucking pandemic, can’t you have a little patience?’” Leila remembers. “I thought: ‘I am working through this pandemic. You’re just shopping in it.’” Shaking with anger, Leila fetched a security guard, who escorted the woman to the tills. Leaving work that evening, the irony of being verbally abused during the weekly celebration of key workers was not lost on her. Continue reading...
May 26th 2020, 2:19 am
Italian label cuts shows from five to two each year and declares fashion calendar obsolete
Fashion week is over, according to Gucci. In a virtual press conference broadcast from his Rome apartment, the label’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, announced that Gucci was slashing the number of fashion shows it holds each year from five to two.
Declaring the fashion week calendar obsolete, Michele said he was no longer adhering to a rota staked out by spring/summer, autumn/winter, cruise and pre-fall shows. Continue reading...
May 25th 2020, 12:30 pm
Jenny Botting, 33, and Arend Van Blerk, 31, both primatologists, met in the South African bush. They are living on separate continents due to the pandemic, but hope to reunite soon
Jenny Botting was working as a receptionist in 2012 while she applied for PhD programmes in animal cognition. “I realised I needed more field research, so I applied to be a volunteer at a monkey research station in the middle of the South African bush.” She left Aberdeen in January 2013, but it was three months before she met Arend Van Blerk, who was volunteering at the same station. “When I arrived, Jenny was away on a holiday,” he says. “She came back on a Saturday night and the volunteers all had a party together. There were about 15 of us living there.” She remembers that he was “handsome and smiled a lot”.
Over the course of the next week, the pair worked hard during the day, following the monkeys around the bush in KwaZulu-Natal and recording their behaviour for the research project. In the evenings, Jenny stayed up late to speak to him. “I was so tired from getting up at 4am for work, but I pretended I wasn’t so I could spend time with Arend,” she says. He felt the same way. “I thought she was really attractive but we also shared a lot of interests. She was silly in a cute way and I really enjoyed talking to her.” Continue reading...
May 25th 2020, 10:14 am
Behind closed doors, men are finally dressing how they’ve always wanted to. Let’s cling to this new sartorial freedom
It happened a few weeks into lockdown. I was having a socially distanced conversation at the end of our garden path and realised I had dressed head to toe in tie-dye (jogging bottoms and self-dyed T-shirt). “I’ve gone mad!” I blurted out, clocking that this was Not An Acceptable Look For Outside.
It struck me that while I had been channelling a Grateful Dead roadie, I had also fallen into the deep joy of lockdown dressing. Continue reading...
May 25th 2020, 7:13 am
As a paramedic I’m working harder than ever, and constantly double-guessing whether to risk exposing patients to Covid-19
The first two patients of the night are likely Covid-19 cases. I don’t have the answers people want: I don’t know if you have it, I don’t know if your brother will die. We don’t have guidance about which patients to take to hospital and which are safe to manage at home, we don’t know who the hospital staff are looking after, we don’t know how many beds are left. Continue reading...
May 25th 2020, 5:42 am
In this weekly series, readers tell us about their favourite trees. This week: an elm tree on Hampstead Heath in London
Photographer Sandrine Joseph fell in love with this fallen elm tree on one of her daily walks around Hampstead Heath in north London. She was captivated by how much it looks like the figure of a woman. “It was winter when I took the picture. The light was perfect, there was no one around and I didn’t have to shoot many pictures to get the perfect shot,” she says. “The tree is dead but at the same time it feels timeless. It makes me think of petrified wood.” She decided to name the photo Lying because “it looks like a woman’s body lying and at the same time it is a lie”.
Sandrine, 53, passes the tree roughly once a week depending on the route she takes through the heath. She often sees people sitting on it or walking or jogging past the tree without paying it any attention. She would love it if visitors would walk through the heath as if they were at an exhibition or a gallery. “The tree is an amazing sculpture created by nature, which reminded me of Man Ray’s reclining model in Primat de la Matière sur la Pensée. There’s a melancholy about it, like an ancient statue forgotten in the middle of the woods.” Continue reading...
May 25th 2020, 2:22 am
I vowed to spend the coronavirus quarantine focused on looking inward. Then I went on one virtual date and everything changed
Lying comfortably on her back, Allie looks up into my eyes and graces me with another one of the big smiles that I’ve quickly grown to cherish since matching with her on the dating app Hinge last week. It’s our third date. The first two went exceedingly well, with seamless conversation uncovering like-minded worldviews, agreeable senses of humor, and even some respective vulnerabilities. By this point, as the third-date rule dictates, getting a little randy was natural.
“I was wondering how long it was going to take me to get you into bed,” I say, sparking a laugh, considering our current circumstances. Continue reading...
May 25th 2020, 1:52 am
Upping your salad dressing repertoire allows you to transform a dull bowl of leaves into something fancy
The secret to a great salad is a great dressing. Dressing your salad leaves like they’re about to appear on the Met Gala red carpet turns them from a second thought to fulfil your daily vegetable quota into a meal’s supportive understudy – ready to step in, perform and outshine if need be. Don’t worry, no foul play involved.
Like the friend who is able to impressively clear and coordinate everyone’s iCal schedule for a weekend away, it’s the dressing that brings everything together. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 1:47 pm
There has never been a better time than lockdown to fix things around the house. The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades and other experts offer tips on how to do it yourself
The lockdown is a good opportunity to learn to repair some commonly broken items. Not only do many of us have more time on our hands than usual, but shops are closed so we can’t easily replace items, and many expert restorers are shut, too. Prolonged proximity to your belongings, and a keener eye on your finances, may have given you a newfound appreciation for your stuff and the planet’s resources. These days you can find a wealth of fix-it tutorials online, but here’s where to start. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 10:45 am
When the UK population was told to stay indoors, one maintenance team in Chester refused to let people in need of vital supplies go without. Two months on, Qwest continues to support the local community, delivering food, medication and even treats
The effects of the coronavirus crisis extend far beyond those who have contracted Covid-19, with lockdown taking its toll on at-risk groups in cities, towns and villages countrywide. The past eight weeks have seen volunteers and local authorities rally together to help those in need. Efforts to help include work by the private sector, which has played its own part in helping those people who need it most.
For energy and services company Engie, the Covid-19 pandemic has seen its teams support councils and local communities in ways that move far beyond their normal duties. The company, which has 15 major local authority partnerships and Continue reading...
is active on regeneration projects in more than 400 communities, has deployed staff to help deliver resources, such as welfare boxes, through several of its contracts, including Qwest – its joint-venture partnership with Cheshire west and Chester council.
May 24th 2020, 10:02 am
Bursting with lentils, here’s a veggie pie that packs a punch
I need pie. Not a sugar-dusted apple pie or a slim, flaky tart, but a big, fat savoury pie with a deep filling crowned with a cloud of buttery mash. A pie to put on the table to share, into which everyone can dig deep and pile, steaming, on to their plates.
This is a recipe that will work for all comers: a sort of cottage pie but without the beef, rich with Italian lentils, aromatics and tomatoes. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 8:01 am
After a lifetime amassing useless trivia, the craze for quizzes in lockdown should have meant it was Séamas’s time to shine…
Like any couple who’ve been together for more than a decade, my wife and I are quite frank about the things we most dislike about each other. For me, it would be her inability to deal with air travel. There is not a single aspect of flying that does not present itself as an opportunity for her to become angry and resentful. Her terror of being late for things – fostered, I should admit, by my incredible skills in that very area – means she takes no risks with timing. This has become worse over time. We started out arriving at the airport three hours early. Now we set off about eight weeks before departure, allowing time for her to powerwalk through duty free, loudly considering every tragedy that might befall us between there and our destination.
I begin by being ‘a bit grabby with the pen’, before graduating to ‘full-on megalomaniac psychopath’ Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 4:43 am
Couples, wedding planners and venues speak of the challenges, costs and heartache involved in moving the main event
Across Britain, would-be newlyweds are frantically making adjustments to wedding plans thrown into disarray by the worldwide pandemic.
Some are rescheduling for later in the year, hoping that the lockdown will ease in time for their big day. Others have postponed until next year to allow the recovery to take hold. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 3:43 am
You don’t have to leave your home to enjoy the magic of nature
As a botanist, I am fascinated by the growing body of scientific evidence of the powerful and positive impact that simply being around plants can have on mental and physical health. From reducing healing times in hospitals to helping control pain and anxiety, spending time in nature can constitute an important therapeutic tool for many people, especially in the current situation.
However, amid continuing lockdown, for many of us escaping on a forest walk or to a country park is difficult to achieve. For city flat dwellers like me, getting time with nature can be even tougher, just when we need it the most. So here are three simple ways in which anyone can benefit from the great outdoors, without needing to leave your front door. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 3:25 am
Shopping has taken us in some mighty strange directions since the virus arrived
So perhaps, if we stay alert and follow Mr Johnson’s absolutely infallible multicoloured plan, the shops will open soon. I don’t know how I feel about that. On the one hand, I have missed ferreting through the TK Maxx beauty aisle, sorting the brand-name wheat from the quixotically named chaff (so many unlikely doctors selling moisturiser!) then entering a fugue state and emerging with a yoga block, some bath salts and four bags of nearly expired cantucci biscuits. On the other, it’s been interesting to experiment with consuming differently, and less.
Of course, it’s only “interesting” when you’re not hungry, skint, sick or scared. But there’s a salutary jolt to the system in not buying things you don’t need, having to wait, and wait, for a pair of scissors, or being thrilled by a bag of penne. Since the panic buying subsided, I’ve shopped in the ways I always knew I should: making careful lists, planning meals and staying local. Some intriguing alternative networks have sprung up around food, in particular, mixing old and new. A tip from an acquaintance about a wholesaler selling online transformed my stepfather into the yeast king of his street, doling it out to all comers. A weekly email sends me to a car park where a man in a van hands over foraged greens, local eggs and rhubarb on tick. A different man leaves an Eccles cake on your doorstep at 3pm if you DM him at 9.30am sharp. I’ve even heard of an invitation-only fish-buying collective (I’m not invited). Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 3:12 am
The author on walking in forests, re-reading the classics in bed and the pleasure of living near his son
Are you an early riser? I only sleep six hours a night, but Angélica, my wife, needs almost double. During the week I’m up at 5am to write, but on weekends I no longer work, after years of overdoing it. So on Sunday morning I read in bed until she’s ready to get up. She can sleep for longer when I lay next to her.
How are you coping at the moment? While nobody is prepared for what we are living through, some have been through similar experiences: the distance of the migrant or of exile is a curse, but allows you to grow. My wife is the keeper of our sanctuary, expeditious and hygienic at the best of times. When we have deliveries, she cleans every orange and doorknob meticulously. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 2:42 am
There’s a wide variety available, from literally gilded to cheap and cheerful
In the depths of lockdown, the arrival of a takeaway can feel like a promising message from a lost world; one where restaurants continue to do what they always did. It’s a sudden spike on the emotional heart monitor. A few weeks ago, I said I wouldn’t talk about such things in this column and I never go back on my word. Except when I do. So many intriguing takeaways have arrived at my house recently that to not mention some of them would be a dereliction of my ludicrous duty.
Mostly they have been taken in a professional capacity. Oh, that we should all have such professions. Just before restaurants closed, I was recording a third series of my podcast Out to Lunch, in which I grill marvellous people to a turn over a marvellous meal: Dita Von Teese at Norma, Charlie Brooker at Chutney Mary and so on. But we have all had to adapt. So now I stay in for lunch and interview marvellous people by video, with a takeaway. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 2:42 am
Don’t examine your self-worth in terms of your income, says Mariella Frostrup. Follow your heart and do something that will properly enrich your life
The dilemma I’m 45, with a strong marriage, two kids and a good financial situation (thanks to my husband). I’ve had many different jobs over the years, but retrained in another profession last year and hoped to make a basic income from that. Then the pandemic hit.
I chose to leave my work so I could cope with everything. I take care of my parents (my mother almost died of a non-Covid-related issue) and children; fundraise; shop and deliver food to the many local families in need. My husband is also doing a lot of housework, cooking, etc, as well as working from home. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 2:42 am
She was instrumental in putting Mexican cuisine on the world’s food map. Now 97, Diana Kennedy is the subject of a brilliant film
Diana Kennedy has written nine cookbooks. The first, The Cuisines of Mexico, was published in 1972, is several hundred pages long, and has been widely credited with introducing traditional Mexican cooking to the English-speaking world.
Kennedy is 97, white, and English – hardly the ingredients you’d expect to make up a leading authority on Mexican food, but sometimes ingredients surprise you. She lives in the hills of Michoacán, four hours west of Mexico City, on a piece of land she bought decades ago. In culinary circles she is adored. The Mexican chef Gabriela Cámara describes her as “a legend”. Here’s the restaurateur Nick Zukin: “She is a prophet for Mexican food.” And the chef Rick Bayless: “She’s an incredible repository of knowledge.” And Pati Jinich, host of the Emmy-nominated TV series Pati’s Mexican Table: “I think Mexico, as a country, will be eternally indebted to her efforts.” Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 2:42 am
The big taste of British summer starts with a bowl of small potatoes
Our potatoes are growing, purple and metal-green leaf covered over in the trench where magic happens. It won’t be long now. A couple of weeks or so until our primal root crop is ready. Literal buried treasure, unearthing memories of childhood summers and dinner.
Alongside fresh-picked peas and corn, potatoes are maybe the best test of the homegrown veg, eaten on the same day as cropping if possible, still tasting sweet of the soil. Every year as December ends, my thoughts turn to what varieties we might grow, where we will get them and when. I will try to wait for a potato fair, but they are often later than I like. Continue reading...
May 24th 2020, 2:42 am
In the heart of Italy’s design capital, this spectacular home hits all the right notes
Milan’s Sforza Castle may not be as well known as its Teatro alla Scala or Duomo, but it is one of the Italian city’s proudest monuments. In the mid-1400s the Duke of Milan, Francesco I Sforza, transformed what were near ruins into one of the most exclusive residences of the Italian Renaissance. A few years later, the restoration was taken further by Francesco’s fourth son, Ludovico il Moro, who enlisted his contemporaries to help him deck it out, including a couple of chaps called Donato Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci. Five centuries on, across the road in the home of former fashion designer Lorenza Bozzoli, history is repeating itself.
The Milan-born artist and interior designer, together with her husband, architect Piergiorgio Fasoli, has just finished a six-month renovation of their mezzanine apartment in front of the castle on the Piazza Castello. They have turned “a boring studio”, as Bozzoli puts it, into a multicoloured Tardis filled with furniture and art. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 11:20 am
Have a ‘kaffeeklatsch’ until you become ‘unsoulclogged’: archaic soothing terms to use in troubling times
Like language, our emotions are universal and whatever fears and anxieties we are now experiencing, someone else in centuries gone by has felt the same way. Here is an A-Z of archaic and forgotten words that at some point in the past exactly described an elusive sense of peace, calm and delight. So, if you want to know your agathism from your euneirophrenia, read on and draw comfort from these linguistic oddities
Agathism It’s hard to be an optimist knowing that there are tough times ahead. But in lieu of optimism, there’s always agathism – a word coined in 1830 for the belief that all things eventually get better, though the means by which they do is not always easy. It is a word to remind us that though we may be in for hard times, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 10:19 am
The designer, 48, on his early rugby career, buying an old tailors and why he loves wild camping
My earliest memory is giving myself a haircut before my first day of school. I was so fastidious about how I looked. There’s a photo of me in my blazer beaming. My tie’s perfect and right in the V of my jumper. But the hair looks like Worzel Gummidge’s because I’ve just cut it in the bathroom mirror.
I’ve always been really interested in clothes. I don’t remember ever not being completely aware of what I was wearing and wanting to be correctly put together. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 9:34 am
In this extract from his explosive new memoir, the former editor-at-large of US Vogue talks frankly about its legendary editor-in-chief
• Exclusive interview with the man behind the memoir
Vogue started a podcast in 2016 and Anna Wintour announced me as the host. It began with a successful roar and a roster of huge guests: Tom Ford, Kim Kardashian, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang. Anna quietly directed the whole thing from her office. She did not approve of all the interviews I wanted to do, like Missy Elliott or Maya Rudolph. We instead stuck to insider fashion. Anna came down and participated if she found my guest interesting enough.
Then, like a morning fog that suddenly lets up, the podcast no longer existed. No explanation or compensation. Just sphinx-like silence from Anna. She decimated me with this silent treatment so many times; it is just the way she resolves any issue. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 6:48 am
Leftover pork rind boosts the flavour of this grill delicacy based on Italian sausage
It’s ironic that one of the most wasted parts of a pig is also one of the most delicious. Pork scratchings are a classic snack, while the crackling upon a mighty loin of roast pork is one of the most revered delicacies of British cuisine: puffy, sweet, golden and crunchy, and altogether unctuous with a salty twang.
Pork rind is removed from bacon, chops and other cuts to refine them, but these days there is little demand for this delectable offal, so, once removed, it rarely makes it on to our plates and is instead rendered down for cosmetic products. Woe to the pig. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 6:48 am
A homemade version of the kebab shop favourite complemented by a platter of grilled veg and a tomato-topped toasts
Grill marks make me happy. Aesthetically, contrasting black stripes are exciting to look at, but, beyond that, it is the association with smoke and fire, with outdoor barbecues and joyful gatherings, that creates a delightful experience. Recently, the usual script has been heavily edited, big gatherings now being a distant past and a faraway future, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to re-enact the theatrics and fire up the grill, be that outside or on a griddle pan in my kitchen. The high heat adds flavour and maximum dramatic effect, while still keeping things fairly simple and, eyes closed, taking me to more radiant days. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 5:13 am
My local council has stopped collecting food waste and I’m not sure what I need to compost it
Every week a Guardian Money reader submits a question, and it’s up to you to help him or her out – a selection of the best answers will appear in next Saturday’s paper.
My local council has stopped collecting food waste and I think I need to start composting. What works best? Is it worth spending money on proper equipment or can I use an old bin? Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 5:13 am
A brief encounter with a stranger on the bus or at the pub may seem trivial, but in the coronavirus era these ‘weak social ties’ are crucial
Has there been a month in my life before when I’ve not met a single new person? In the last couple of months the only folk I’ve seen have been people I know: my husband, our neighbours. In pre-virus days I’d have met new people in the pub (this is Glasgow; we talk to one another here), at work events or at friends’ parties. I’d have chatted to the newsagent, the bus driver or the person at the checkout.
These more removed contacts are called weak ties, in sociology speak, and they are the people social distancing has removed from our lives. There is no socialising. Time in shops is under pressure and you have to be as quick as possible, with the humanity removed by masks and distance. Many of us might think that’s not much of a loss: but the truth couldn’t be starker. Because weak ties, it turns out, are essential in good times – and in the coronavirus era, they are more crucial than ever. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 3:26 am
Lockdown provides opportunity to start the home improvement projects you have been putting off
After weeks stuck indoors, many of us have a very good idea of which bits of our home we would like to improve. Some have already been moving through their DIY to-do lists but with the bank holiday weekend here and restrictions on lockdown easing in parts of the UK, it is the perfect time to get going on a new project – big or small.
Medina Grillo, an award-winning DIY and home improvement blogger at grillo-designs.com, says now is an opportunity to tackle projects you may have previously put off. “DIY helps to structure your day a bit more and it keeps you from feeling too bored,” she says. She has painted a small wall in her entrance hall, hung up a few pictures and waxed a coat rail over the past few weeks. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 3:26 am
Author Bernardine Evaristo, broadcaster Hugh Pym, playwright James Graham and more pen letters to themselves, to be opened in May 2021
James Graham, playwright Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 3:26 am
Ben, 24, PR executive, and James, 31, fitness studio manager
What were you hoping for?
At best, the plot of a new Netflix original romcom. At worst, a money-can’t-buy “What did you do during lockdown?” story.
May 23rd 2020, 1:42 am
My ambition is for the birds of the air to land on me. But have I really thought this through?
Of my two big lockdown projects, one is well ahead of schedule: the iron table legs I am restoring have been stripped and primed, and are ready to paint, fully two weeks before the delivery date for the top I ordered. When it arrives, I will cover it with a mosaic made from broken bits of Victorian crockery I picked up in the park the year they redid all the paths, and have saved ever since in case of global pandemic.
“It’s going to be hideous,” my wife says. Continue reading...
May 23rd 2020, 1:42 am
The closing of schools due to Covid-19 put extra pressure on millions of parents and children across the country. In West and South Yorkshire, an academy trust executive and a food services boss stepped in to see how they could help
A delivery of food arrives at a doorstep. Inside the hamper are bags of pasta, tins of tuna, tomatoes and baked beans. There are also blocks of cheese, yoghurts, milk and cereal. It’s a basic shopping list, but for the children and their families receiving this box it’s a lifeline, meaning they are able to feed themselves for the next few days.
“We’ve had calls from people in tears”, Pam Knox, chief financial officer from the Waterton Academy Trust, who has been delivering the food bundles. “If they’ve not been able to get out, or are pregnant, they’ve emailed and they are so, so grateful.” Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 11:25 am
You may be picking up on something in your son you recognise, and giving it more meaning than it deserves
A few years ago, I sought help for my obsessive-compulsive disorder, which I could trace back to when I was about 14. I did CBT, which I found positive and helpful.
I have a son who is now two years old, and worry he has started to display OCD tendencies, and that I am passing it on. Though I am far better than I was, I struggle with managing some behaviours, including handwashing. With the threat of Covid-19, this has ramped up, and I have been fastidious about the whole household washing hands. I try to do it in a “normal” way, but sometimes feel I need to wash my hands more often. I wonder if my son picks up on the fact that I am more stressed when we wash his hands. He recently said: “I need wash my hands again – I dirty” and got upset when I tried to dry his hands with a towel, wanting a different one; just being touched by the towel I had offered provoked him to wash his hands again. Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 10:24 am
Lockdown fixture for millions turns sudoku into world’s most popular spectator sport
When Simon Anthony quit his lucrative but miserable job at a London investment bank to solve sudoku puzzles on YouTube, it looked like a bit of a leap. His early posts had done well to gain 100 views. Perhaps he had overestimated the demand for long videos of a 46-year-old man putting numbers in a grid from his spare room in Surrey.
A year later, Anthony is one half of an unlikely viral sensation: Cracking the Cryptic, the channel he runs with his old friend Mark Goodliffe, has become a lockdown fixture for millions. Much to the puzzlement of both men, they have turned sudoku into what right now might be the world’s most popular spectator sport. Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 9:38 am
My parents and teachers attached a moral judgement to boredom. These past months have helped me shake it off
The boredom of childhood was nothing like adulthood’s. Back then, boredom was simply a matter of physical space: stuck at home with nothing to do, or at the hairdresser’s waiting for Mum. If I complained, she would offer me a mop. “Some of us don’t have the luxury of being bored,” she would say.
Soon, I realised boredom was more about mental space. I filled my mind with books, films and the internet. But the adults complained I never stuck to anything; not dance club, or book club, or the short-lived dance book club led by a community centre volunteer who hated dance and books and, likely, life. Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 9:38 am
As the amount of time I work has increased, my involvement has evaporated: is Fortnite and afterschool fun any substitute?
My wife received a text from a friend recently, asking her to thank me for something I had said about home schooling. My wife told me this, and followed up with the question: “What the hell do you know about home schooling?!” I decided to interpret her tone as playful rather than laced with rage, but she is absolutely right.
I have been spending an increasing amount of time working, which means my involvement in home schooling has evaporated. I am upstairs while the kids do home school with their mum, seeing me only when I pop downstairs to ask them to keep it down a bit, which I imagine makes my wife love me even more. In my defence, I only do this when I am recording voiceovers, a home setup that requires me to cover myself in a duvet to deaden any echo and use my phone as a torch inside my makeshift tent. (Remember that if you happen to watch anything with my voice on it during lockdown.) Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 9:38 am
We have been deluged with emails about refunds in the coronavirus crisis. A barrister gives his view
Over the last few weeks Guardian Money has highlighted many excuses made by the travel industry, particularly airlines, when refusing refunds for Covid-19-related cancellations. One reader even wrote in about a battle for a refund from a hotel on a Scottish island to which non-residents cannot now take ferries.
There will doubtless be many cases taken on the consequences of the virus but the present law is quite simple. Once a contract becomes impossible to perform, due to the fault of neither party, it is treated as frustrated, meaning neither party is bound and any advance payments, including deposits, have to be refunded. Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 9:08 am
The ‘triple lock’ on the state pension is under threat – but there may be fairer ways to raise revenue
If you are a pensioner, you have been under virtual house arrest during the coronavirus crisis. You have been barred from any physical contact with your wider family. If you have been in a care home, government failures have left you catastrophically exposed. And yet at the same time, there are plenty of voices in government circles arguing that you should pay the bill for the virus.
A month ago a broadly centrist thinktank, the Social Market Foundation (SMF), said a key element of the so-called “triple lock” on the state pension should be scrapped, to save £20bn. Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 9:08 am
This is a serious breach of trust, but I am wary of raising it because she is likely to react angrily and defensively and further damage our relationship
My ex-partner and I have a five-year-old son. Recently, I discovered that she has been breaking lockdown rules by taking him to visit her elderly parents.
I sympathise with anyone who needs family contact during the lockdown. I am sure we all feel the same way. But this is a serious breach of trust, as well as putting our son at risk. Continue reading...
May 22nd 2020, 7:55 am