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3-9 September 2021

Behind the headlines

Global Update


Noted 03.09 snake oil

Although the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and colloidal silver solution have both been called “snake oil” because of their unsuitability as Covid treatments, actual snake oil – squalene from the livers of pythons – “has been credibly proposed by scientists for use in Covid vaccines”, says Caitjan Gainty in The Conversation.

Inside politics

Michael Gove’s groovy dating profile

Boris Johnson may not sack his Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, says John Rentoul in The Independent. That doesn’t mean political accountability is dead. No less than 13 ministers have fallen on their swords since Johnson became PM. And the resignation usually cited to show “things were done differently in the past” has an interesting wrinkle. Lord Carrington resigned as foreign secretary in 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falklands – intriguingly, when Carrington was 99, in July 2018, he raised his fist “like a football fan” when he heard that Johnson had resigned as foreign secretary from Theresa May’s Cabinet. He promptly died.


Quoted 03.09 Andy Murray

“Fact of the day. It takes Stefanos Tsitipas [sic] twice as long to go to the bathroom as it takes Jeff Bazos [sic] to fly into space. Interesting. 🚽 🚀”

Andy Murray after Tsitsipas took an eight-minute loo break during their US Open tennis match, which Murray lost


Quoted Terry 03-09

“A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done.”

Terry Pratchett



Quoted 03.09 Joe Rogan

“The state of America 2021: the most popular podcast in the country is hosted by a guy who took horse dewormer to treat Covid.”

Journalist Max Boot on Joe Rogan’s admission that he took ivermectin

After Hours

The cottage

This three-bedroom cottage in the ancient Buckinghamshire village of Brill, 12 miles from Oxford, has exposed beams, oak floors and a distinctive glass-paned Victorian shopfront. There’s a garage at the end of the courtyard garden and the nearby Pointer does cracking pub grub. £530,000.

The pied-à-terre

Once part of a Victorian infirmary near Brunswick Park, in Camberwell, southeast London, St Giles Tower has been turned into 18 flats. This light-filled one-bedder on the first floor has high ceilings, a rainforest shower and a parking space. Catch the bus to Oval Tube station. £375,000.

The country house

You’ll see rabbits, squirrels and deer from your sofa at Lakeland House, a stone’s throw from the southern shore of Windermere. The four-bedroom house is set in 3.5 acres, with oak, beech and cherry trees that put on a blazing display in autumn. There’s a separate two-bedroom lodge, a garage and a boat mooring nearby. £1.5m.

The townhouse

The Cotswolds? Charleston? No, Ash Tree Cottage is in Sydenham Hill, a surprisingly leafy corner of southeast London. The handsome Georgian house has four bedrooms, a light-filled kitchen and an art studio in the gorgeous garden. It’s a 15-minute walk to Forest Hill station. £2m.

The hideaway

There are views of Prague Castle from the two terraces at this penthouse in the Czech capital’s old town. The six-bedroom property has been lavishly restored, with solid wood floors, extravagant chandeliers and original Renaissance beams. $5.18m.


Noted 03.09 Banksy

The Banksy painting that partially shredded itself in 2018, after being sold at auction for £1.1m, is going back under the hammer in October. The asking price? Between £4m and £6m.


Quoted 03.09 Larkin

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it’s a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

From Homage to a Government by Philip Larkin

Five of the best

Modern museums

Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan

This curvaceous cultural centre in the Azerbaijani capital opened in 2012, just over two decades after Azerbaijan achieved independence from Russia. Designed by Zaha Hadid, it makes a striking contrast with the monumental Soviet architecture that dominates much of the city.

Zeitz Museum, Cape Town, South Africa

British starchitect Thomas Heatherwick has turned a 1920s grain silo on Cape Town’s V&A waterfront into an African version of Tate Modern. The spectacular atrium retains the concrete tubes that once held wheat and corn.

Shanghai Museum of Astronomy, China

The world’s largest astronomy museum opened in July, with attractions including an observatory, a planetarium and a 78ft solar telescope. Designed by New York architects Ennead to resemble the cosmos, it has no straight lines or right angles.

V&A Dundee, Scotland

The V&A’s Scottish outpost opened in 2018 on the banks of the Tay and attracted more than 830,000 visitors in its first year. Inspired by the cliffs of northeast Scotland, it was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and cost £80m to build.

Military History Museum, Dresden, Germany

Daniel Libeskind transformed this classical building with a five-storey glass, steel and concrete addition that bisects the original structure and evokes the bombing of Dresden in 1945. A viewing platform at the top provides panoramic views of the city.


Noted 03.09 Queen

The latest protocol for when the Queen dies decrees that flags across Whitehall should be lowered to half-mast within 10 minutes. Downing Street is worried that this might be impossible: it does not employ a full-time flag officer and cannot guarantee that anyone in the building would know how to lower a flag.


It’s back… geometric fashion

Steeped in 1980s nostalgia, Zara’s latest range of geometrics offers Gucci-style glamour at high-street prices. Tulle trousers, £27.99, printed organza dress, £49.99, and tunic set with bralette and briefs, £59.99.

A ray of sunshine… from Nkuku

Add warmth to your living space with this ochre armchair, yours for £975. Hand-crafted in cotton velvet and mango wood, it has a detachable slumber cushion for serious lounging. Based in Devon, Nkuku sells sustainable furniture made by artisans worldwide.

We’re loving… Superfood skincare

Elemis’s Superfood range will leave your skin glowing, says Glamour. The Matcha Eye Dew, £30, made with hydrating kiwi fruit, honey melon and matcha tea, “reduces puffiness and boosts brightness instantly”.

It’s cosy… Poetry cashmere

Prepare for autumn with this ribbed funnel-neck sweater in recycled cashmere. Poetry is a London firm producing classic, clean-cut designs in Italian wool, including cardigans, coats, berets and scarves. Choose from four colourways: ice pearl, cloud blue, soft blush and charcoal. £269.

They’re cool… Chilly’s bottles

Chilly’s has teamed up with Parisian artist Agathe Singer to create two limited-edition 500ml bottles, Blue Cat and Wiggling Flowers, £30 each. They’ll keep your drink warm for 12 hours or cool for 24.


From the archives

Boris takes on the tabloids

Back in the 1990s, when Boris Johnson was still a journalist, he represented The Daily Telegraph in a “tabloids v broadsheets” edition of University Challenge. The long-buried episode resurfaced this week and I can’t think Boris will be happy, says Ian Gallagher in The Mail on Sunday. Especially given the tabloids won.

Quirks of history

Quirks 03-09

When his wife became Queen, Prince Philip was puzzled to see an unopened bottle of whisky placed by the monarch’s bed every night, says Matthew Parris in The Times. It was removed, unopened, every morning. The reason? Apparently her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, once had a cold. The royal physician recommended a tot before bed and palace staff were instructed accordingly. Nobody had rescinded the instruction, “and if succeeding monarchs had even noticed the routine, none had bothered to query it”. Philip abolished it at once.


31 Aug: Puerto Madryn, Argentina, 21C 🐋

29 Aug: New Orleans, 26C ☔

30 Aug: St Mawes, Cornwall, 20C 👙

29 Aug: Ceres, South Africa, 8C ⛄

29 Aug: Suzhou, China, 35C ☁️

28 Aug: Van, Turkey, 42C🚦

28 Aug: Victoria Park, London, 19C 🎡