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12 September

In the headlines

Ukraine has recaptured an area “at least twice the size of Greater London” in a huge counter-offensive in Kharkiv province, says The Daily Telegraph. Officials in Kyiv estimate that 3,000 sq km have been liberated, including the strategic city of Izyum, forcing Russian soldiers to “literally run” for their lives. Three quarters of a million people are expected to travel to Westminster to pay their respects to the Queen in person. She will lie in state in Westminster Hall from 5pm on Wednesday until 6.30am on Monday; mourners may have to wait up to 20 hours. “Hard to think of anything more British,” says the Daily Mail’s David Wilcock, “than paying tribute to the Queen with a massive queue.” Norwich City Council is also paying tribute: it has closed a bike rack for a 12-day period of mourning. “Even bike racks need time to Raleigh themselves,” says one Twitter user.

The Queen’s legacy

A comfort no American will ever experience

The “hard-to-explain grief” I feel at the Queen’s passing is down to her “staggeringly rare” level of self-restraint, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. In our times, particularly in America, where I live, “narcissism is everywhere”: every feeling we have must be expressed and respected. The idea that we are humans with duties to others – duties that “require and demand the suppression of our own needs” – seems archaic. But the Queen “kept it alive by example”. She never said anything surprising or shared her opinions in public. “She was simply the Queen. She showed up. She got on with it. She was there.” Upon her death, it’s hard not to fear the restraint, duty and persistence she exemplified are disappearing with her.

Gone viral

Farmers in Aberdeenshire lined up their tractors (and one combine harvester) to form a guard of honour for the Queen as her coffin was driven to Edinburgh yesterday. It felt “both comically absurd and curiously moving”, says filmmaker Nev Pierce on Twitter. “What an odd old week it’s been.”


Thomas Carney, the crusty scouse bartender at Manhattan’s famous Elaine’s saloon, had no time for self-important customers. According to his obituary in The New York Times, when a big-shot guest started arguing over his bill, demanding “Do you know who I am?” Carney climbed on top of the bar, “clanged a spoon on a bottle”, and announced: “This man does not know who he is. Does anybody know who he is? We need help.” It brings to mind another (almost certainly apocryphal) story, when a celebrity guest visiting an old people’s home was worried he wasn’t being recognised, so gently asked an old lady: “Do you know who I am?” “Don’t worry dear,” she replied. “The nurse can tell you who you are.”

Eating in

King Charles has never been one for lunch, says his former press secretary Julian Payne in The Sunday Times. He usually skips the meal and works solidly until 5pm, when he’ll stop and “recharge” over sandwiches and fruit cake. “If there is anything left after the cake has been passed around, it will be placed in a Tupperware box to reappear the next day and the day after that.” As for the long-running rumours that the King is presented every morning with a line of boiled eggs, each with a different consistency? “I never saw a single boiled egg at breakfast in all the years I worked there.”


When her granddaughter Zara Phillips was in the running for an eventing medal at the 2012 Olympics, the Queen was so nervous she couldn’t watch, former royal protection officer Richard Griffin tells Sky News. “I can’t face up to it,” she told him. “Let’s go out for a picnic.” So the two of them drove up to the mountainside and had some food at one of the cabins. Eventually the Queen told Griffin she couldn’t stand it any longer, and asked him to radio his colleagues to find out how Phillips had got on. When news came back that she’d won silver, says Griffin, she “just grabbed me, and we were dancing around in circles on this hill in Scotland”.

Love etc

In 1958, women’s advice magazine McCall’s published a list of 129 ways to get a husband. “Somewhat predictably,” says Shaun Usher in Lists of Note, their suggestions have “aged badly”. Advice includes: “Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers”; “Bribe a Ferris wheel operator to get you stuck at the top”; and “Stand in the corner and cry softly. Chances are good that he’ll come over to find out what’s wrong.” Husband-hunters can read the full list here.


It’s a “fake corn dessert”, which appears to be the internet’s latest obsession, says Eater. The trend started when an LA restaurant began serving up an illusory almond jelly in the shape of a corn cob. Playful pâtissiers have developed a mousse shaped like a maize ear, and an ice cream sandwich that looks as though it’s sprinkled with sweetcorn. All “clearly artificial, but adorable”.


quoted 12-09-22

“Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.”

CS Lewis