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Why do women stay with brutes?

I was astonished to read about the cruelty levelled by Sir Vidia Naipaul against the women who loved him – his Oxford educated wife Pat and mistress of 20 years Margaret Murray, for whom the attraction was merely sexual. I found John Carey’s review in yesterday’s Sunday Times on the authorized biography of VS Naipaul, "The World Is What It Is", by Patrick French, both...
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French chic, where are the heels?

The outfits were elegant and demure and deliberately understated to accommodate the renowned British reserve. But one thing stood out and disappointed me about Carla Sarkozy’s carefully planned wardrobe during her visit to the UK last week -where were the heels? I only started wearing flatties after I began to carry babies around on my hips. Up until then, I always wore the right colour...
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What a difference a week makes

Just before Easter I was ranked at just over 19,000 by Technorati, the internet search engine which tracks every blog in the world. In the last week, thanks to my hectic home and work schedule which resulted in light blogging, I dropped 10,000 places, but am still ranked above 30,000. Just. And my blog was ranked as high as 13,000 a year ago when I had more time to spend on it. I really value my...
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A literary weekend in Cambridge

I’m attending a couple of meetings this morning, then heading off to Cambridge Wordfest for the rest of the day for some stimulation at this always exciting literary festival being held this weekend. It may not surprise you to learn that with my passion for environmental issues, I am particularly looking forward to listening to Sir David King, the government’s former chief scientific...
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Phoning home from the sky

There was a time you could go to the cinema and enjoy a film knowing everyone’s mobile phone was switched off. That is not the case any more. When my family and I this week went to see my husband’s starring role in The Other Boleyn Girl, somebody’s phone rang and the woman in front spent the whole time texting. Now, disappointingly, I learn that one of the last public...
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Why Darling shouldn’t be banned from pubs

There is an internet campaign to ban Chancellor Alistair Darling from every pub in the land following the 4p per pint tax increase in this month’s budget. Musings of a Reactionary Snob is one blogger giving this his full support. But I think banning him is taking the easy way out, that voters should have the opportunity of coming face to face with him and giving him their own personal...
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Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone. I want to have some family time this Easter, so blogging will be light. It won’t be long before David flies the nest and heads off to uni and I want us to enjoy as many family trips together as possible before he leaves. It’s difficult to plan days out for teenage boys, but I thought they might enjoy The London Bridge Experience, which takes you deep into...
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Off to York today

I’m off to York today to spend the day with Julian Sturdy. A pity there is never time to tour the city because it is stunning and I would love to study its history and architecture. Apologies for the light blogging this week, but when duty calls, a girl has to do what a girl has to do…
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How can we save our post offices?

Quote of the day from Post Offices Minister Pat McFadden on Post Office closures: "In most of the local closure plans so far about 99% of people will either see no change to their current post office or will still be within a mile of one by road." He obviously hasn’t listened to a word that has been said by protestors up and down the country, the huge impact it will have on...
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Another whirlwind day

I am spending today interviewing a very unusual person for a book I plan to ghost write about his extraordinary life. Once it is accepted by a publisher, and my agent thinks that should not be a problem, I shall tell you more, if I am allowed to. It’s all very exciting.
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"It must be done by legal means.."

“It must be done by legal means.” That is the line my husband speaks as an extra when he plays a lawyer in the newly released film, The Other Boleyn Girl, which we have yet to see. My husband has a very loud and deep voice and I can imagine it resounded around Ely Cathedral. However, it did not make King Henry V111 quake in his shoes, He demanded: “I don’t care how it is...
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Promoting food and farming, and rushing around

I’m hoping for dry weather today as I am spending the morning at the rather stunning Cambridge University Botanic Garden where Shadow Agriculture Minister James Paice, Cambridge MP David Howarth, Euro-MP Andrew Duff and Cambridge Mayor Jenny Bailey will roll up their sleeves and join local school children in sowing vegetable seeds. They will also pledge their support to educate our young...
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Memories of Sue

I met my friend Sue’s husband for lunch today, my friend who died last year. They didn’t have any children and have no close family in the area and he is pretty much alone. He works abroad half the year as a tax exile, he is a captain of a merchant navy ship. I’m afraid to say he is not too good at the moment and is waiting for a diagnosis from his doctor following blood tests...
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Shannon Matthews found alive and well

I imagine the whole nation is feeling overwhelming relief following the brilliant news that nine-year-old schoolgirl Shannon Matthews has been found alive and well, three weeks after going missing. She had been found concealed in the base of a divan bed in a house in Dewsbury and a 39-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of abduction. This is particularly great news following the first...
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