Publication:

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - 2021-10-10

Data:

Alexandra Shulman’s Notebook

Qatar: The Toxic World Cup

it. But you don’t have to have become close to an abuser of young women or a threatening abductor to eventually decide a certain friendship has run its course. You may just see the light and realise that all around you were correct in regarding them as a bully or a manipulator or a witch. More often it’s less dramatic and you realise they are, and may always have been, just a terrible bore. And nothing is as lethal to a friendship as boredom. Joy! Mary Berry’s coming at Christmas IT’S that time of year again. Mists and mellow fruitfulness, apples, plums and cookery books. Publishers are releasing the heavy artillery guaranteed to shore up their finances over Christmas – Ottolenghi’s Test Kitchen, Nigel Slater’s A Cook’s Book, Mary Berry’s Love To Cook. I will, naturally, be getting them. I’ve got five Nigel Slaters and three Ottolenghis already (no Mary Berry yet, so that could be exciting) as well as countless Nigellas and River Cafes – and in all honesty I don’t need a single new recipe in my life. But that’s absolutely nothing to do with it. Cookery books are like new clothes – you imagine a whole life to go with them. Everything will be all right, maybe even better, if you have a go at delivering a beautiful platter of burrata with cannellini instead of chickpeas next time. Are trusty Ubers taking us for a ride? I’VE seen the future and it’s dispiriting. For the first time the other day, my Uber journey cost more than a black cab, probably because of the fuel shortage. The quoted fare for my journey at first didn’t attract any drivers so I tried again, and then, by now very short of time, I was quoted double the fare, which lured a trusty Toyota Prius. Cassandras always predicted it would come to this. That we would get dependent on Ubers and then, once in a position of power, they’d hike the charges. Is that a market-led economy – or an abuse of power? Jon Bon Govey’s not Boris’s only rocker BLESS him. I never had Michael Gove down as a particularly don’t-care-what-you-think kind of person but it was a brave man who got on the dancefloor at the Tory Party conference after the mockery that greeted his moves at an Aberdeen nightclub recently. But he did the right thing. Why shouldn’t he, or I, or any of us past the age of 50, dance as much as we want, wherever we want? I frequently jump around in the kitchen on my own but only when I’m sure that my son won’t appear, hunting for a slice of salami, just when I’m getting into my whole Stevie Nicks thing. It’s particularly British to mock older people dancing. In most of the rest of the world, families dancing is part of their culture. But here it’s only OK for the elders to get on the dancefloor at a wedding while the tribute band is playing – on condition they discreetly shuffle off before someone starts to spin the decks and the real action starts. Speaking of which, I loved Boris’s Jon Bon Govey quip. He could have a whole Cabinet of rockers. Little Rishi, Scritti Politti Patel (for those who remember the 1980s), Sajid Jagger, Jacob Rees Trogg. And of course, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who is already known in some quarters as Lady Gaga. Mini marvels see off the frilly frumps SO THE miniskirt is back, or so we learnt from the recent catwalks. Will we wear it? I hope so. I’m way over the ultra-modest Little Housewife On The Prairie look, all floppy hems and frilly necks, which have been so popular for so long, partly because women of all ages felt they could wear them. But actually they didn’t do a great service for older women who often looked more frumpy than winsome. Short hemlines aren’t for everyone (I didn’t even wear them at 17) but if they make you feel good, that’s what counts. Hemlines have got nothing to do with the date on your birth certificate. No, it’s confidence that’s your best companion at any age when it comes to short skirts. That, and with winter on the way, a good pair of black opaques. Masterpieces go way over my head WHAT is the correct height to hang pictures? Wandering around the staggering Wallace Collection in London the other day, it struck me that many of the pictures hung above the doors and mantelpieces were difficult for me to see clearly. Am I, at 5ft 4in, too short? Or are they too high?

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