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Reasons to be cheerful


When it emerged that Room 101 was returning to Radio 4, I was asked to list my own pet hates, says Giles Coren in The Times. But given I’ve been detailing “the things I hate, or pretend to hate”, in columns for nearly 30 years, I suggested an alternative: Room 102, where I would keep all the things I love. Here are a few of them.

“A really good satsuma.” Hot smoked salmon on the barbecue. Opening doors for women. (“I don’t care if it’s old chauvinist nonsense. I love it and they love it, so I’m doing it.”). Newspapers. Lord’s. “When a social thing I had in the diary – literally any social thing – gets cancelled.” A pistachio that has already lost its shell before I get to it. “Suddenly remembering, when out in the evening, that I am in the middle of a brilliant novel and that when I get home and get into bed, it will be there.” Lunch on my own, just one course and one glass of wine, “with the paper folded on the table to the right of my plate”. Any 1960s convertible five-seater Mercedes, like the dark blue 220SE my father drove. “The sight of anything vaguely like it brings back the smell of fags, five-star petrol and brilliantine. Brings back, ever so briefly, him.”