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18-19 November


My morning with the leaders of Hamas

To much of the outside world, says Ben Hubbard on The Daily, Hamas’s October 7 attack seems like an act of suicide. They knew full well Israel would respond by trying to wipe them out. So what was their thinking? To find out, I went to meet some of the terrorist group’s leaders in Lebanon and Qatar. Its political wing is not that different to any other political party – “they have offices and they have aides, and you call them up, and you take an appointment”. First, I met a group of senior officials at a well-known restaurant in Beirut. Then I went to their headquarters in Doha: a nice villa in an affluent suburb, with “a big wall around it”. Over tea and coffee, they explained their rationale.


This 320-acre property in Colorado boasts a full reproduction of an old Wild West town. The main residence is a luxury three-bedroom lodge, kitted out with Amish hickory flooring and expansive windows. Other buildings include a bunkhouse; top-notch equestrian facilities; three original cabins from a stagecoach depot in Santa Fe; and a fully operational hotel and dance hall. Denver is a three-and-a-half-hour drive. £3m.


Quoted bob 18-11-23

“When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did – in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.”

Comedian Bob Monkhouse


This two-bedroom flat in Crouch End has a large open-plan kitchen with windows overlooking nearby Elthorne Park. It has high ceilings throughout, marble-clad bathrooms, and a secluded garden with an outdoor studio. Hampstead Heath and Finsbury Park are within walking distance, as are plenty of coffee shops and restaurants. Crouch Hill Overground station is a 10-minute walk. £800,000.

The great escape

Train enthusiasts with a “massive wad of cash to splash” are in luck, says Time Out. Travel company Railbookers has announced an 80-day, £90,000 luxury rail odyssey that goes through 13 countries across four continents. It includes a trip through the Canadian Rockies; a week in the Scottish Highlands on the Royal Scotsman; a journey from Paris to Venice on the Orient Express; and a tour of the “castles and hilltop hamlets of south-eastern Europe” on the Danube Express. The package launches next August; see the full itinerary here.

Quirk of history

The Japanese have a phrase for when someone “unknowingly escapes from disaster”, says Brian Klaas on Substack: “Kokura’s luck”. In 1945, America’s second atomic bomb was meant to be dropped on the city of Kokura – but cloud cover forced the crew to fly to Nagasaki, itself a last-minute addition to the target list. Had the bomber taken off a few minutes earlier or later, “countless residents of Kokura might have been incinerated instead”. Another city that benefited from Kokura’s luck was Kyoto. The former imperial capital was originally on the list for the first bomb, but Henry Stimson, America’s secretary of war, had been there with his wife years earlier and didn’t want to see it destroyed. It was “perhaps the most consequential sightseeing trip in human history”.


Quoted 18-11-23

“If I had to live my life all over again, I’d do it exactly the same – only I wouldn’t read Beowulf.”

Woody Allen