The receptionist at my Amsterdam hotel had clearly graduated in catering studies with at least an Upper Second.
A committed conservationist, Barbara Hunt, accused her local council, Spelthorne Council, in Staines, Middlesex, of transforming one of the town's main streets into a "messy" Brixton. She describes her area thus: "[Like Brixton] the town centre has become very run-down.
Liberals fear a Pinochet-style regime; but Russia's new leader is their best hope. Vladimir Putin pr
The exigencies of column-writing being as they are, this is the last time I shall bring you gossip from Westminster until late September, when the party conference season will be upon us. Even that isn't the same. Both the Labour and TUC conferences are wrapping up a day early.
It was the great Cynthia Payne who once memorably observed that it was impossible to get any sense out of men until they had been "de-spunked".
In last week's diary, I narrowly avoided making a fool of myself - all right, all right, a fool of myself again. At the very last minute, I was alerted that the transcript of obscene out-takes from Have I Got News For You was actually a fake.
A couple of days ago, I drove past a second-hand shop called "Junk and Disorder", which raised a smile. But I always wonder what it would be like to work in a shop with a name like that for month after month, as the joke wore thinner and thinner.
Who, it is being asked in the Commons bars, would have an interest in upstaging Chancellor Gordon Brown and his comprehensive spending review? The first editions of the broadsheet papers on Monday 17 July led with previews of Ir'n Broon's calculating generosity.
We are not going to have a whale of a time at London's New Year's Eve party. It is going to be a scaled-down shindig - half a party. Don't be surprised if there is no party at all. And why? The police are asking us Londoners to pay a punitive cost of £3m for extra policing on the night.
The photo of the handbag was splashed across the Telegraph: the symbol of Mrs T's political matriarchy had been auctioned off for charity and fetched £100,000.
I first went to Murton, a Durham pit town, just before Christmas 1973. The National Union of Mineworkers had arranged that I spend a night in F32, a seam that was not on the visitor's run, and lay a third of a mile beneath the town.
Everything was going swimmingly at the New Statesman party until I decided to wander away from the group of seasoned old buffers with whom I had spent the first two hours of the evening and found myself pushed against the wall of the Serpentine Gallery by an enthusiastic young man with
Though it has now become a ritual for 17 million people, Thomas Cook's brainchild may be on its last
Change and dismay are all around. Tony Blair's bad week is prompting unfavourable comparisons with his predecessor. The ex-chancellor Norman Lamont is telling anyone who will listen: "I never thought he would turn out so much like John Major."
Another week, another book launch. This week, it was Jill Westwood's first novel, Holding the Centre. I can't say that my toast flew out of my hand with excitement when the invitation from Axon Press turned up on my breakfast table.
A new British survey has suggested that, during the working week, professional men spend an average of ten minutes with their children. That's per week, not per day. This really doesn't give you time to get much done.
Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Greater London Assembly, in a rare outburst, threatened the new Mayor, Ken Livingstone, saying that he intended "to kick ass". Ken, he said, is building a Kenocracy. He, Trevor, seeks the interests of the people of London.
At last, they are undergoing a real personality change: the <em>Volk</em> is doomed and Hitler just
In an old market town, young men vomit on their own shoes and shout "big tits" at the passing girls.
My flight to Sydney was in a Qantas aircraft painted entirely in Aboriginal motifs. The airline calls it the "Wunala Dreaming" and offers a scale model in its duty-free catalogue.
I'd lay odds that it was two-thirds of the way through the book and halfway down the left-hand page, but I'm still unable to turn up the paragraph in Martin Amis's superb Experience in which he talks about "writers" being people who are always hoping that everyone else will very shortly
What is the explanation for Alastair Campbell's persistent bad temper? As best I understand these things, he is engaged in a vicious battle with Peter Mandelson, the undisgraced Northern Ireland Secretary, for influence over the PM.
Deborah Bosley's New Statesman article a couple of weeks ago, about the horrors of living in the country, certainly touched a nerve. People have been queuing up ever since to scream: "Me too, I'm also being driven into alcoholism by the tediousness of rural England."
A friend was uneasy about my condemnation - swift, he called it - of Lord Harris of Haringey in his capacity as chair of the police committee in the Greater London Assembly.
A few days ago, the London Evening Standard introduced us to Lord Harris of Haringey, named by Mayor Livingstone as chairman of the Police Committee. His article urged us to welcome democracy in the organisation of the Metropolitan Police.
Former taxi driver and anarchist, the German foreign minister now has his own bold vision of a new E
The scene is Darlington station. The time is Friday morning. There are lots of policemen and dogs (none of them for petting) about, plus a number of government limousines.
I thought it was outrageous. So did Roger and Helen. Sarah was an excellent researcher, but now came the news that her short-term contract would not be renewed. Something had to be done. Roger and Helen looked at me. Yes, I was happy to stand up and be counted.
My wife and I - I always have difficulty with that phrase. It makes me feel as if I should be cutting a ribbon or making a speech. "My partner and I" isn't much better. It manages to be coy, evasive and ambiguous, all at the same time.
There must be doctors all over the country contemplating the recent scandals involving cancer-test errors, incompetent gynaecologists and deluded surgeons, and asking themselves: "Could I be next?" It must be like one of those mornings when you wake up with your head pounding, your tongue dry an