School Dinners

I’m not one for school reunions. At least ten years ago there was a drinks party in London for all the boys in “my” year at Eton. It was excruciating as the few I recognised I wasn’t especially keen on and otherwise it was a sea of strange faces. I ended up talking to the then Head Master, Tony Little, who was in the same year as me. I think he felt sorry for me.  Continue reading School Dinners

What’s Up?

Château de Balleroy

An unusual convention in Bridge is the Lightner double, described by Susanna Gross in The Spectator as “a bolt out of the blue which strikes fear into your heart. There you are, having bid confidently to slam, when suddenly one of your opponents pulls out the red card. Eek! It’s a Lightner double, which means they want their partner to make an unusual lead.” Continue reading What’s Up?


The Earl of Ickenham believed in pouncing. Let him explain the Ickenham System in his own words.

I call it that. Just giving you the bare outlines, you stride up to the subject, grab her by the wrist, clasp her to your bosom and shower burning kisses on her upturned face. You don’t have to say much – just “My mate!” or something of that sort, and, of course, in grabbing by the wrist, don’t behave as if you were handling a delicate piece of china. Grip firmly and waggle her about a bit. It seldom fails …

(Cocktail Time, PG Wodehouse, 1958.)
Continue reading Pouncing