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All the week’s wisdom in one place
9-15 April 2021


Vaccine Sam Duckworth quoted

“To be fair to the vaccine, very few things in Britain work for the under-30s.”

The singer Sam Duckworth on Twitter

Inside politics

Dr Macron will see you now

President Macron wants us to think he’s as clued-up about Covid as his scientists, says Serge Raffy in L’Obs. He thinks of himself as “Dr Macron”. It’s unsurprising, given his medical family: his father is a neurologist, his mother a doctor, his sister a nephrologist and his brother a radiologist. “Little Manu”, the rebellious prodigy, boldly snubbed the white coat for banking and politics – but his staff say he devours medical journals with “astonishing frenzy”. It’s almost as if he has something to prove.


Dogs noted

Dogs tend to be right-handed. A Lincoln University study of nearly 18,000 dogs in Britain found that 58% of those with a preferred paw used their right limb more. It’s less of a skew than for humans, about 90% of whom are right-handed.


Janan Ganesh quote

“If it wasn’t for the effort, I could argue against hard work all day.”

Janan Ganesh in The Financial Times

The townhouse

Built during the reign of Queen Anne, this Grade II listed home in Richmond, southwest London, is a stone’s throw from the Thames and within walking distance of the station and Richmond Park. It has four bedrooms, a self-contained annexe, off-street parking and a ballroom with sash windows that overlook the walled garden. £4.25m

The country house

Thomas Hardy drew inspiration from Grade I listed Poxwell Manor, six miles from Dorchester and nine from Chesil Beach. The nine-bedroom house has 10 acres of grounds, with a separate three-bedroom cottage, two lakes, a moat, a swimming pool, a tennis court and a helipad. £3.75m.

The hideaway

Set in bluebell-carpeted pine forests on a cliff on Guernsey’s east coast, with spectacular views of the Channel and nearby islands, La Belle Vue has six bedrooms, a library, a home cinema, a snooker room, a three-car garage and a separate one-bedroom flat. You can walk to the capital, St Peter Port, on a path that runs past the garden. £10.65m.

The cottage

This three-bedroom thatched cottage in the village of Newtown Linford, Leicestershire, has landscaped gardens that look out over undisturbed countryside. Inside there’s a mix of original features and modern fittings, with a Rayburn in the bespoke kitchen, exposed beams in the large sitting/dining area and oak bifold doors in the garden room. £650,000.

The pied-à-terre

This two-bedroom flat near Brook Green, west London, is on the raised ground floor of a Victorian townhouse. It has an open-plan living area with large sash windows and a shared paved garden. There are several Tube stations and excellent pubs within walking distance. £895,000.


Billionaire noted

An 18-year-old German is the youngest billionaire in the world, according to a list published this week by Forbes. Kevin David Lehmann is worth a reported $3.2bn after inheriting his father’s 50% stake in Germany’s largest pharmacy chain, DM.


Michael Deacon quote

“We were a lot better off when we didn’t know what other people thought all the time. And, by the same token, we were a lot better off when other people didn’t know what we thought all the time, either.”

Michael Deacon’s view on social media, in The Daily Telegraph

Scenic British bike rides

Trossachs, Stirling

We took the freedom of the open road for granted until 2020, says The Guardian in its round-up of the most scenic UK bike rides. So it’s time to make the most of it again. This 53-mile route from Balloch takes you along the banks of Loch Lomond, past waterfalls and heather-covered hills. Fish and chips await in Killin at the end.

Camel Trail, Cornwall

This largely flat 17-mile ride follows a disused railway line from Padstow to Wenford Bridge, taking in moorland, woodland and estuary views.

Stratford Countryside Roller and Stroller, Warwickshire

Look out for Shakespeare’s birthplace on this 20-mile ride through the countryside around Stratford-upon-Avon. If you’re making a day of it, there are plenty of traditional pubs on the route.

Settle Circular, North Yorkshire

It “will have you breathing hard”, but this 18-mile round trip from Settle is worth the effort – you’ll ride along winding rural lanes with views of the Dales, passing stone walls and sparkling rivers.

Bath Two Tunnels Circuit, Somerset

This 12-mile ride from Bath Spa station has more to see per mile than most routes, including aqueducts, viaducts and the Georgian city centre. One of the titular tunnels is more than a mile long.


Mussolini noted

Benito Mussolini was “the biggest bluff in Europe”, according to Ernest Hemingway. The writer met the Italian dictator at a press conference in the 1920s. As journalists piled into the room, Mussolini sat quietly, engrossed in a book. “I tiptoed over behind him to see what the book was he was reading with such avid interest,” said Hemingway. “It was a French-English dictionary – held upside down.” After the author’s remarks, his novel A Farewell to Arms was banned in Italy.

They’re chic… baby carriers

Every cool mum on Instagram is wearing an Artipoppe carrier, says Vogue: “They feel like an adult wardrobe piece rather than a baby accessory.” There’s a pattern to suit every taste and they’re designed for breastfeeding on the move. As spotted on Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Chrissy Teigen. From £293.

They’re back… sweater vests

With winter drawing in, “sweater vests are back on the style menu”, says GQ. The 1970s staple is everywhere on the high street – grab a classic knit from Cos, £45. Or head to Molly Goddard for something a little louder, £420.

This works… Olaplex

It transformed Drew Barrymore’s “coughed-up bird feathers” and became Selfridge’s second biggest-selling hair brand a week after its launch last year. Olaplex’s bond-building technology is “a collective (ab)solution for all our hair sins”, says Cult Beauty’s co-founder. Sold. From £26.

Just launched… Partnership Editions Home

Known for curating affordable work by emerging British artists, Partnership Editions is now moving into interiors. The Home as Art collection is a “natural development” for Partnership Edition’s artists, who have translated their distinctive styles onto textured cushions, wall hangings, candlesticks and ceramics. From £70.

Gen Z loves… wired headphones

“The under-25s have finally brought something sensible back into fashion,” says Louisa McGillicuddy in The Sunday Times – wired headphones. Bluetooth-raised Gen-Zers think they’re “retro”. There’s even an Instagram account, @wireditgirls, devoted to the best celebrity looks. “Long may it last. Mainly because our bank account can’t take replacing a 16th pair of AirPods.” Wired Apple EarPods cost £19.


On the money

China’s digital yuan threatens the dollar

China invented paper currency more than 1,000 years ago. More recently it has led the world in electronic payments, thanks to the vision of Alibaba and Tencent in building the Alipay and WeChat Pay platforms. Now it’s about to steal a march on the rest of the world – notably the US – by creating the first digital currency controlled by a central bank (as distinct from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which exist outside the traditional global financial system and aren’t legal tender).

From the archives

The bird that sings like a chainsaw

Watch nature’s greatest impersonator, the lyrebird, at work. Narrated by David Attenborough.

Quirks of history

Bird quirk of history

In 1822 storks solved a mystery that puzzled the ancient world: where birds disappear to in winter. Aristotle thought redstarts turned into robins in winter, then transformed again in spring, says Katherine Rundell in the London Review of Books. In 1694 the scientist Charles Morton suggested that swallows, cranes and stalks wintered on the moon, while indigenous North American accounts told of hummingbirds hitchhiking to faraway lands on the backs of geese.

Then, in 1822, a stork arrived in Germany with a 30in spear in its neck. “Metal-tipped, rising up through the bird’s breast and out through the side of its neck”, the weapon was identified as coming from central Africa. Here was proof that storks were not hibernating in trees, but flying halfway around the world every year: something far more “unlikely and fairytale-like”.

Apr 7: Northumberland, 7C 🌈

Apr 7: Burgundy, France, -4C 🧊

Apr 6: Fagradalsfjall, Iceland, -5C 🌋

Apr 8: L’Aquila, Italy, 12C 🌄

Apr 3: Lennox Head, Australia, 24C 🌊

Apr 4: Luoyang, China, 7C ❄️

Apr 5: Harbin, China, 18C 🧊