Everyday life


Life is full of little endings. We should pay them more attention

Life is full of little endings. We should pay them more attention

Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with the voice of his computer in 'Her' Photo: Annapurna Pictures / The Kobal Collection

The voice of Big Mother does more for women than any Twitter feminist

Feminism in modern Britain is not for the faint-hearted. Only the smartest, mouthiest girls on the social media scene dare…


Dear Mary: Is there a polite way to ask for the return of a handbag full of cash?

Q. A friend regularly hires a stall at a general neighbourhood market in order to sell surplus second-hand clothes and…

Dear Mary: How can I make my polite English husband interrupt like a German?

Q. My dear English husband has never mastered the knack of timing his interventions in conversation. He hesitates politely, and…

Tomorrow We Live

When did it become OK to be boring?

Being boring was once the worst of all social sins. Now it’s practically compulsory

The Passion of Jesus is performed on Good Friday to crowds in Trafalgar Square

Yes, Britain is a Christian country

I can’t say it was a great surprise to read a letter from a group of well-known authors, academics, comedians…


You can buy happiness. Here’s how…

If you are reading this article online, perhaps you could go to the comments section and let us know what…

Dear Mary: How can I escape the tyranny of teacher presents?

Q. It’s only April and yet I am being emailed by parents who have already taken charge and are drumming…


I don’t want to rate the restaurant. I want to rate the date

Everyone’s a critic, but that doesn’t mean we want to fill in a survey every time we buy a meal


Why working class grandparents are better than middle class ones

When I told a friend that my nine-year-old son was staying with his grandparents for the whole week of the…

A devil monkey. Should they be restrained with Ritalin, or told to behave?

Dyslexia is meaningless. But don't worry – so is ADHD

There is a beautiful symmetry to all things, I think, and probably related somehow to the concept of karma. Only…


The battle against the dog police

Feral bureaucrats are banning dogs from places they’ve been walked for generations. But now owners are fighting back

Dear Mary: Is there any way to wriggle out of a phone invitation?

Q. Is there a tactful way to keep one social offer on hold while waiting to see if you have…

The question that Dear Mary refuses to answer

Q. One of my best friends, who knows I don’t have a great social life at university, has a brother…

Author Dame Penelope Lively after receiving her Dame Commander medal  from the Princess Royal Photo: Getty

Penelope Lively’s diary: My old-age MOT

My surgery has been calling in all those over 75 for a special session with their doctor — a sort…

Dear Mary: How do you escape from a stranger's childhood trauma story?

Q. Recently a cousin and I gave a small drinks party in the USA. She had invited a very elegant…

Dear Mary: What do I do now I haven’t sent a thank-you letter?

Q. Over New Year I stayed with a man who combines being a generous and exciting host with a punctilious…


The comedy club theory of dictatorship

The comedy club theory of dictatorship

A little girl climbing into the confessi

Forgive me, Father

What Catholics really talk about in the confession box

Dear Mary: How can I make my friends read the book I gave them?

Q. I gave a copy of Dan Russel the Fox by Somerville and Ross to a couple I know to be…

London 2012 - London Transport

The case against London cabbies

It’s time to end the archaic privileges of London taxi drivers

Taken lying down: Thomas Edison demonstrates the cat-nap, Virginia, July 1921

America's war on sleep

The relentless rise of ‘you snooze, you lose’

Sesame Street Live charactors (L-R), Ern

Clarissa Tan's Notebook: Why I stopped drinking petrol

Florence was in fog the day I arrived. Its buildings were bathed in white cloud, its people moved as though…

Dear Mary: How can I escape my neighbour’s spy cameras?

Q. I have a problem with what might be called location blindness. I live in Balham, but when I arrange…