Skip to main content
The Knowledge logo

13-14 August

Inside politics

Secrets of the Trump White House

In the White House, Donald Trump had an aide known as the “Music Man”. Whenever the president got angry, this official would calm him down by playing his favourite show tunes, such as Memory from Cats. This, says Margaret Hartmann in Intelligencer, is just one of many pieces of “salacious political gossip” revealed in a recent batch of Trump-related books. Others include the claim that the president has cut his own hair for years, and that Melania and her staff called Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner “the interns” – because they were “obnoxious, entitled know-it-alls”.


quoted dylan 13.8.22

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night, and in between does what he wants to do.”

Bob Dylan


quoted shaw 13.8.22

“I wish I were as certain about anything as you are about everything.”

George Bernard Shaw to a friend


Energy is crucial to economic activity, and indeed “life itself”, says Matthew Syed in The Sunday Times. But it’s getting harder to generate. For oil, our “energy return on investment” has plummeted: back in 1919, when drilling for the “sweet crude near the surface”, you could get 100 barrels out for every one barrel expended in energy. Now that we’re having to go much deeper, we only get five barrels for every one expended. The returns from renewables are even worse. Nuclear fission will help, for the time being. But the real goal is nuclear fusion – the same process that powers the sun – which promises “almost unlimited clean energy”.


Twelve years ago, a JetBlue flight attendant quit his job in “dramatic style”, says History Today. Frustrated by an argument with a passenger after landing at New York’s JFK airport, 38-year-old Steven Slater grabbed the PA system and announced: “That’s it. I’ve had it. I’m done.” He took two beers from the drinks trolley, deployed the plane’s emergency inflatable escape chute and began sliding down – only to realise he’d left his bags on board. “He scrambled back up the slide to retrieve them before fleeing down the chute again.” Slater was arrested soon afterwards, but became a folk hero to “stressed-out, overworked Americans”.

Eating out

Eating at Diddly Squat, the restaurant Jeremy Clarkson set up as part of his hit TV show Clarkson’s Farm, is quite the experience, says William Sitwell in The Daily Telegraph. It’s essentially just a “small shed in the middle of a field of barley”, so the only way to get there is by tractor and trailer – driven by none other than Kaleb, Clarkson’s show-stealing sidekick. The food – beef, beef and more beef – is a bit hit and miss, but perfectly decent. And it’s clearly just “TV content”, not a viable business: the staff have been “hoisted from a trendy restaurant near King’s Cross” and put up in nearby hotels. Still, our group had a lovely time. Just like the TV show, it’s “quality bonkers”.


For any “brave and possibly foolish” people looking to circumvent hosepipe bans, there are plenty of “creative loopholes”, say Abigail Buchanan and Guy Kelly in The Daily Telegraph. Animals are exempt because keeping them clean is a “welfare issue”, so position your filthy hound next to whatever needs water – the flower beds, say, or the car – and give it a good wash. Grass used for sports can also be hosed: why not host your mates for a game of football in honour of the Lionesses? “To go full method, sing Sweet Caroline on the hour every hour.” You can also fill a pool or pond where fish are being kept, so if you buy a whole sea bream from the fishmonger – “nobody said it had to be alive” – you can stick it in the paddling pool and take a dip alongside.

Eating out

After 25 years as a professional chef, Angélique Schmeinck had a “Eureka” moment, says Atlas Obscura: “a hot air balloon is actually a huge hot oven!” Not long afterwards she launched CuliAir, a sky-high foodie experience in which diners eat a three-course meal cooked and served on board a hot air balloon above the Dutch countryside. The ingredients are hoisted up to the top of the balloon – where it’s 90C, perfect for slow cooking – using an intricate pulley system. The first course is usually something raw, like a seafood cocktail; the second a flaky seabass; the third either fowl, lamb, or duck confit. Schmeinck says her aim is for each dish to be “as light and elegant and fresh as ballooning itself”.


The castle

Castle Von Frandsen sits on the banks of Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho. The 8,000 sq ft property was hand-built from granite quarried in British Columbia, perfectly replicating a medieval royal seat. It has an indoor plunge pool and massive timber beams harvested from its 10-acre private forest. Although largely unfurnished, the property does appear to come with a full suit of knight’s armour. $7m.

The country house

Hartland Point is a sprawling, 10-bedroom property on the Devon coastline near the hamlet of Stoke. The 7,300 sq ft interior retains several period features, including a large open fireplace, shuttered sash windows and sloping ceilings with exposed beams. Outside there are two walled terraces for al fresco dining, leading down into expansive gardens complete with croquet lawn and hot tub. Barnstaple train station is a 40-minute drive. £1.98m.