• Before you leave, everyone will tell you how poor the food is in England.  This isn’t entirely true.  If you know how to time your hunger, you’ll be able to eat perfectly well.  In England there are two excellent meals: breakfast and tea.  Reserve your appetite for these meals only. Learn to appreciate new pleasures: porridge, kippers, marmelade.  At lunch-time, fill yourself up with a big piece of rare beef or some admirably pink ham.  Refuse desert, in as manly a way as possible.  Say firmly: ‘I don’t like sweet.’ In England, every other shop is a sweet shop, but even so the English have no idea what to do with sugar.  Leave the desserts to the women and children. Adopt

    Jul 07,
  • I’ll give you an example.  There was once a young Englishman who was invited to a fancy-dress ball at his neighbour’s in the country.  He decided to disguise himself as an Elizabethan jester.  He ordered a satin jacket, half-red and half-green, and short culottes with one green leg and one red.  He wore a two-toned pointed hat.  On the evening of the ball, he had himself driven to his friends’ house, but before he went in he sent his driver away.  He was a little surprised that the house was neither open nor lit up.  He rang the bell.  A butler opened the door, looked at him, and said nothing.  He showed the visitor, who he knew well, into the

    Jul 04,
  • 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,