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29-30 July


Leonardo DiCaprio is famed for his “long, hot summers” partying with supermodels on yachts, says Simon Mills in The Times. I witnessed one myself. I was in the lonely back room of a nightclub, “nursing a negroni”, sitting beside a cold bottle of vodka on ice. And then, “… OMG, Leo DiCaprio!” He lit up a Cuban stogie and nodded at me; I nodded back. All of a sudden, six models walked in, “sat on his knee, ruffled his hair and pulled him off the banquette for a bump-and-grind dance”. The actor grinned at me from ear to ear, before getting up to leave. On the way out, he cast me a pitiful glance, before planting a fresh Cohiba cigar in my breast pocket and saying: “Enjoy it pal.”


quoted 29.07.23

“If it is a 10-minute speech it takes me all of two weeks. If it is a half-hour speech, it takes me a week. And if I can talk for as long as I want to, it requires no preparation at all.”

Woodrow Wilson on speechwriting


We don’t eat quite like our ancestors, says Ligaya Mishan in The New York Times. Gone are the “roasted hedgehogs of Stone Age Britain” and the flamingo tongues of ancient Rome. But some dishes have endured. A 13th-century Syrian cookbook, with the sublime title Winning the Beloved’s Heart With Delectable Dishes and Perfumes, contains a recipe for hummus that still holds up after 800 years. You take dry chickpeas and boil them until their skins loosen and they reveal themselves, “tender little hulks with souls of butter”. Then you mash the chickpeas in a swirl of tahini, olive oil, vinegar, spices and herbs, and fold in a crush of nuts, seeds and preserved lemon, “sour-bright and tasting of aged sun”.

🤔🍲 While you’re doing all this, consider the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi’s parable of a chickpea that “rises from the pot’s seething depths to accuse the cook of torture”, only for the cook to reply calmly that this is the path to a higher destiny: to “become food and mingle with life”.


The country house

The 100-year-old Trewoofe House in West Cornwall is up for sale for the first time in its history. Its 4,166 sq ft interior includes a magnificent studio with a vaulted ceiling, six large bedrooms, and a sunroom. Outside, there’s around 1.5 acres of south-facing gardens, complete with a sun-drenched terrace and “secret garden” perfect for aspiring botanists. Cornwall’s rugged coast is just a mile away, while Penzance train station, with direct trains to Paddington, is a 10-minute drive. £1.2m.

The townhouse

This sleek one-bedroom home in Hackney Downs, east London is inspired by traditional Japanese inns (known as Ryokans). Set in a quiet cul-de-sac, it has two courtyards, floor-to-ceiling windows, oak furnishings and a skylight above the freestanding bath. Hackney Downs Overground station is a five-minute walk. £600,000.



quoted 30.7.23

“A man who correctly guesses a woman’s age may be smart, but he’s not very bright.”

Lucille Ball