• Only two rules.  Dress like they do. Dress simply.  The English are conformists.  If you play golf in jodhpurs, if you turn up for a regimental dinner in shorts, you will shock and sadden them.  But you’ll shock them even more if you have the bad taste to be overdressed.  None of your clothes should be over-tailored, nor your shoes over-new.  Miss Jane Harrison, in her Reminiscences of a Student’s Life, described the pleasure that she felt watching the Duke of Devonshire, at Cambridge, receive an honorary doctorate with his socks showing through the holes in his shoes.  ‘Right down to the holes in his shoes,’ she says, ‘I recognized that he was truly a Duke.’ Don’t think that

    Jul 06,
  • Visitors to this year’s Rugby World Cup will notice, at least during daylight hours, that the natives are speaking a foreign language. This is the first tournament hosted by a non-English-speaking nation, and in its rugby vocabulary France insists that the game is more than muscles and bish-bosh, even at scrum-time. Le scrum is not a word that rugbymen across the Channel decided to adopt. They could have done so, alongside le drop, but for the heart of the battle they revived instead la mêlée, a word last used in a competitive context in the 11th century. In the medieval period la mêlée was used to describe collisions of courtly knights in mock battles. Plus ça change. In rugby, too,

    Sep 11,