Page 1

HISTORY OF TWITTER | 48 hours in liverpool | fly fishing | trace your family tree



A fresh new take on your world


PLUS The great gastro tour

An intelligent mix of current affairs, culture, health, travel, food & drink

historic getaways kitchen gadgets Marseille

has britain lost its bite? ● We survey the nation to find out what being British means to the generations page 32

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08 news digest

60 What’s on

The big stories in brief

A roundup of UK events you won’t want to miss

10 Everyone’s talking about…

62 Theatre digest

Why Chimerica could be the play of the year

The conflict in Syria

14 science & tech

63 cinema

Robin Ince on science plus a round-up of the best new tech

Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and the best new releases

16 TV digest

House of Cards: original or Emmy-winning US remake?

64 48 hours in Liverpool

18 Book club

The ultimate itinerary for a weekend in Liverpool

The intriguing Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

68 Top five historic getaways

20 Eight things Brighten up your kitchen

Five historic cities that will teach you a thing or two

22 Wine

69 Room with a view

How to find the perfect partner for your food

The hotel rooms with views to die for

24 shopping without queues Get your groceries online

27 Your money Are you concerned about a new housing bubble?

28 Your health Why prescribing statins isn’t right for everyone Cover: Getty, Linda Duong


29 Postmortem Quinoa, the new superfood, goes under the microscope

30 genealogy Researching your family tree is now a whole lot easier

32 Has Britain lost its bite? What are the big issues facing this

country and how do our views change as we age? The big debate starts here

42 The great gastro tour

70 Try something different Geoffrey Palmer and the beauty of fly fishing

72 Off the beaten track Explore a hidden corner of the UK with this stunning walk

We take a tour of the UK and reveal the best culinary hotspots

46 Disappearing world

Why the Taj Mahal could soon be gone

48 Marseille uncovered

It’s a makeover for the French city

76 Once in a lifetime A holiday somewhere special

52 Food science

78 Top five sights

54 A brief history of Twitter

79 Where to go

The science behind healthy foods The new social network is taking over

Incredible sights worth seeing in the Mediterranean

The very best places to spend October and November | THE POST | 5

Editor’s letter

Welcome to The Post In this, our first issue, we wanted to look at what sort of nation we live in. It’s easy to draw your view of Britain from outraged newspaper headlines, government rhetoric and the early evening news, but is this realistic? While the Olympics painted us as a multicultural nation, news reports give the impression that our NHS is on its last legs and we can’t wait to escape Europe. We asked for your opinions on the issues facing Britain and explored differences between the generations. As we age and our priorities change, do our views evolve or become more entrenched? For all the answers see our feature on page 32. We’d love to hear how the results compare to your own life. Elsewhere, we’ve packed the magazine with stuff that we hope you find as fascinating as us. From science and technology, to wine, finance, current affairs, travel and shopping, we’ve got the finer things in life covered. Let us know what you think of the magazine. You can get in touch with us by email, Twitter or Facebook using the details below. Thanks for reading,


Editor Mark Higham Design consultant Ingrid Shields Art director Marc Southey Production editor Alex Narey Editorial director Dave Woods Contributors Georgina Crawshaw, James Eastham, Jean Elgie, Roger Henderson, Robin Ince, Michael Kaplan, Hugh McGivern, Tina Lofthouse, Neil McQuillan, Chris Mugan, Brendan O’Neill, Geoffrey Palmer, Joe Simmons, Leigh Singer, John Stepek, Rob Temple, Helen Tovey, Susie & Peter, Linda Duong, Lee Southey Advertising Tim Farthing 0203 176 6982 07939 106213 Subscriptions 01737 457 890 People like you Publishing Publisher Tim Farthing Executive publisher Ryan Howsam Printed by Headley The Post is published bi-monthly by People Like You Publishing Ltd, 14 Greville Street, London EC1N 8SB. Entire contents © People Like You Publishing Ltd.

OUR CONTRIBUTORS Brendan O’Neill The editor of Spiked Online and columnist for The Big Issue takes a look at the ongoing conflict in Syria (page 10)

Robin Ince In the first of a regular series Robin talks science and says we shouldn’t fear facing the chasms in our knowledge (page 14)

Susie & Peter

The Post team

The experts from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and the youngest married Masters of Wine help you pair your food and drink (page 22)

get in touch today Email: Twitter: @ThePostMag Facebook:

Georgina Crawshaw

6 | THE POST |

Award-winning journalist Georgina is currently rebuilding her flat and knows a thing or two about what makes a great kitchen (page 20)

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Inside / News digest

Royal mail floats, tech is king The government announced it is privatising Royal Mail, which is 497 years old this year. Due to float in November, you can buy shares with a minimum investment of £750. Royal Mail is valued at £3bn, a figure which has been dwarfed in other financial news. Twitter announced its public offering with an estimated valuation of $10.5bn and, after floating in May last year, Facebook was valued at over $100bn for the first time. Meanwhile $30bn was wiped off Apple’s value after its new iPhone announcement (page 15). It’s still the world’s most valuable company though, with an astonishing cash mountain that could buy the other three companies with ease. Apple Valuation: $422,000,000,000 (£263,100,000,000)* Apple cash reserves $147,000,000,000 (£92,100,000,000) Royal Mail valuation £3,000,000,000 ($4,800,000,000)

A nation of estate agents?

Twitter valuation $10,500,000,000 (£6,600,000,000)

One in four jobs created in the last year in the property sector

Photography: Getty, Thinkstock

■ According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, Britain is fast becoming a nation of estate agents. 562,000 people are now employed in real estate in the UK. It’s led to fears of a new housing bubble (see page 27), fuelled by the government’s Help to Buy scheme, which is due to be extended in January 2014. Thanks in part to the scheme, mortgage approvals rose by 10% between the first and second quarters of 2013, and house prices were up 5.4% in the year to August. Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Business Secretary, criticised the extension of the Help to Buy scheme saying, “We should certainly think about... whether it should come into effect in the light of changing market conditions. We don’t want a new housing bubble”.

334,000 jobs created to June this year. 77,000 of these are in real estate


People employed in real estate, the biggest since records began in 1978 and up 77,000 on this time last year


House prices are up an average 5.4% in the year to August* *Source: Halifax House Price Survey 8 | THE POST |

Facebook valuation: $109,500,000,000 (£68,700,000,000)* *Source: Nasdaq, 18 September 2013

The best joke from the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe

“I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa” Rob Auton

High fliers As Voyager 1 waves goodbye to our solar system, we look back at other records since man took to the skies




In 1781 the first untethered hot air balloon flight passes over Paris

Flying started in 1906 but this 1923 record stood for seven years

In 1942 a German V2 rocket reaches these dizzying heights

Best Pubs in Britain* Pub of the Year: The Olive Branch, Clipsham, Rutland

Own Brew Pub of the Year: Grainstore, Oakham, Rutland

Dining Pub of the Year: The Stagg, Titley, Herefordshire

Country Pub of the Year: Malet Arms, Newton Tony, Wiltshire

New Pub of the Year: The Bulls Head, Mottram St Andrew, Cheshire

Unspoilt pub of the year: White Horse, Petersfield, Hampshire *Source: 2014 Good Pub Guide


Number of pubs in the UK. Thirty years ago there were 67,000


More relatives to shop for this christmas A team of scientists have mapped the genomes of the lion and tiger to discover they’re much closer to the domestic cat than we thought. Tigers share 96% of their DNA with the average kitty. Compare that to humans. We share 98% of our DNA with our nearest relative, the chimp. We also share an estimated 90% with the tiger but only 35% with the fruit fly and 15% with mustard grass.

Last year: The Olympics came to London and the Americans went to the polls. Cruise ship Costa Concordia went down, war broke out in Syria and Kate Middleton was photographed nude on a French beach. Average house price: £165k Most popular baby names: Harry & Amelia 10 years ago: Iraq dominates the headlines when war breaks out and Britain swelters as temperatures top 38.5C. House price: £125k (£167k in today’s money) Baby names: Jack & Emily 30 years ago: Thatcher defeats Foot in a landslide election, the first CD is out, morning TV changes forever with the launch of TV-AM and a new £1 coin lands in our pockets. House price: £27k (£77k in today’s money) Baby names: Christopher & Sarah


360,000km 400,000km 12bn km

17bn km

The USSR launches the world’s first satellite, Sputnik 1, in 1957

The first manned craft, US Apollo 11, lands on the moon in 1969

Voyager 1, launched in 1977, leaves our solar system on 12 September

In 1970 the failed Apollo 13 mission takes its crew to the other side of the moon

In 2003 radio communication is lost with Pioneer 10

50 years ago: JFK is shot, the Beatles’ first album Please Please Me is number one for 30 weeks and Beeching unleashes a report into British Rail that signals the closure of 2,000 stations. It’s also the year Doctor Who is first broadcast. House price: £3k (£53k in today’s money) Baby names: David & Susan | THE POST | 9

Inside / News digest What they said…

“A red line for us is [if] we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised” Barack Obama, 20 August 2012

Everyone’s been talking about... War in Syria From graffiti to a growing civil war and worse – how the troubles in Syria have impacted the world

■ Even the largest conflicts can be traced back to a single point in time. When a group of teenagers were arrested for daubing anti-regime graffiti in the city of Dara in Southern Syria in February 2011, it kick-started a wave of protests that were met with brutal force by Syrian troops. Over the next two years, thousands were killed and displaced. The troubles escalated on 21 August this year when a chemical weapons attack killed hundreds of civilians. Regime and rebel forces blamed each other, and the US called for military strikes. China and Russia strongly opposed this and MPs in the UK voted against military action. Before Barack Obama could seek congressional approval, a solution was put on the table whereby Syria would hand over its chemical weapons to international control for destruction.

“In 50 years trying to serve my country I have never felt so depressed/ ashamed. Britain’s answer to the Syrian horrors? None of our business!”

Official White House press call, April 2013 “We go on to reaffirm that the President has set a clear red line… And the people in Syria and the Assad regime should know that the President means what he says when he set that red line” Nigel Farage, 29 August 2013 “We are a country tired of fighting wars that have nothing to do with us”

Vladimir Putin, 3 September 2013 “As for that footage showing the dead children allegedly killed in the chemical attack, it is horrible. The question is only who did it. These pictures do not answer the questions”

Paddy Ashdown, via Twitter, 30 August 2013

Photography: Getty

Syria – the timeline February 2011 Teenagers spray anti-Assad graffiti in Dara, Southern Syria. They are rounded up and imprisoned.

March 2011 An apparently peaceful demo ends in violence as Syrian troops fire into the crowds. Several people are killed.

10 | THE POST |

July 2011 Hundreds killed by tanks and snipers in the city of Hama. The international community calls for Assad to step down.

October 2011 Russia and China veto a UN resolution that threatens sanctions if military action against civilians isn’t halted.

July 2012 Syria threatens to use chemical or biological weapons if the country comes under attack.

August 2012 Obama announces a ‘red line’ would be crossed if chemical weapons were seen to be ‘moving around or utilised’.

Ed Miliband, 29 August 2013 “I am not with those who rule out action… But we owe it to the Syrian people… to scrutinise any plans on the basis of the consequences that they have. I do not believe we should be rushed to judgement”

Barack Obama, 4 September 2013 “I didn’t set a red line, the world did. My credibility is not on the line” John Kerry, 9 September 2013 “He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week... But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously”

“It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the Government will act accordingly”

Michael Gove, 29 August 2013 (Shouted to Tory rebels outside the chambers) “You’re a disgrace, you’re a disgrace”

David Cameron, 29 August 2013

George Osbourne, 30 August 2013 “I hope this doesn’t become a moment when we turn our back on all of the world’s problems”

Barack Obama, 9 September 2013 “My objective here has always been to deal with a very specific problem. If we can do that without a military strike, that is overwhelmingly my preference” David Cameron, 9 September 2013 “We have to be careful though to make sure this is not a distraction tactic”

Ed Miliband, 29 August 2013 “[US-UK ties] cannot simply be about doing what the American President says he wants you to do”

Bashar al-Assad, 18 September 2013 “[It is] a very complicated operation, technically. And it needs a lot of money… about a billion [dollars]. It has a certain schedule. It needs a year, or maybe a little bit more”

Letter from america

Words: Michael Kaplan, US journalist

No appetite for war in the US ■ Perspective is always shaped by the people you hang out with. And if recent chatter on the streets of New York is any indication, no rational American wants to go to war with Syria. The United States may be split on whether or not to get involved – that comes from an NBC news poll, but it also shows that 80 percent of Americans at least want congressional approval before President Obama lets the drones drop. Most Americans find themselves suffering from a kind of war-fatigue. We’re tired of spending billions and putting our young people at risk for dubious reasons in far-flung locales. Right now, if there’s an opportunity to resolve the situation peacefully – with the Syrian government turning over chemical weapons – it’s a win/win for everyone.



59% of Americans oppose unilateral US missile strikes

70% of Americans are against arming Syrian rebel forces

Source: ABC News/Washington Post Poll, 3 September 2013 July 2013 An estimated 100,000 people have been killed and 1.7 million people forced to become refugees.

21 August 2013 Hundreds of people are killed in an apparent chemical weapons attack, including many children.

26 August 2013 John Kerry says there is evidence to ‘strongly indicate’ the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack.

29 August 2013 A UK vote in the House of Commons to support military intervention in Syria is defeated by 285 votes to 272.

30 August 2013 President Obama announces he will seek the approval of Congress before launching strikes on Syria.

9 September 2013 Russia sets out a proposal for Syria to hand chemical weapons over. Turn for more on Syria | THE POST | 11

Inside / News digest

house of commons vote, 29 August 2013

For: 272

Against: 285

Post analysis

It’s more Us than Them

Labour: 223 Tories : 241

Tories : 30 Lib dems : 31

Other: 23 Lib dems : 9

What the people say

UK Should the US, without Britain, launch air strikes against the Assad regime?

Yes: 29% No: 57%

Should any military strikes against Syria be sanctioned by the UN first?

Yes: 80% No: 15%

After the 2003 Iraq war should Britain keep out of conflicts in the Middle East for the foreseeable future?

Yes: 62% No: 31%

Source: ComRes survey, 3 September 2013

Join the conversation

Email: Twitter: @ThePostMag Facebook: 12 | THE POST |

Brendan O’Neill ■ Western military ventures are often more about Us than Them. We drop bombs in far-off fields not to liberate tyrannised folk, but rather to make ourselves feel purposeful. The Canadian writer Michael Ignatieff summed this up in his book, Warrior’s Honour. Having cheered Western military intervention in the Bosnian War, he now wondered if such intervention was “driven by narcissism”. “We intervened”, he said, “not to save others, but to save ourselves, or rather an image of ourselves as defenders of human decencies”. So it is with Syria. Indeed, the most striking thing about the handwringing over Syria is how explicit the narcissism has become. The urge to attack Syria is driven by lethal self-regard, by a burning desire among otherwise missionless, at-sea governments in the West to appear – however fleetingly – as the “defenders of human decencies”. This is why John Kerry, US Secretary of State, says Syria is a test for the West’s “moral compass”. For Kerry, attacking Syria would be less about ending the conflict or toppling Assad’s regime (he’s admitted a strike would achieve neither), but rather a way of making a big, fiery display of the West’s “convictions”. In the US, a right-wing commentator called upon Republicans to support Obama if he attacks Syria, even if they think such an attack “will prove ineffective, do no good, [and] waste

money”. Why? Because America’s “credibility” is at stake. Here in Britain, a writer for the Telegraph said people should back an attack on Syria even if it’s a “futile gesture”. “This isn’t about Syria” he claimed, but about “international morality” and a willingness to enforce it. Philip Collins, a former speechwriter for Tony Blair, admits “intervention will mean chaos”, but we should do it anyway because “it is important to add weight to our moral impulse”. What is being said is extraordinary; it doesn’t matter if bombing Syria does no good, just so long as it helps us send a message to the world. The irony is that it is profoundly immoral – the opposite of human decency – to take an action as serious as firing missiles into a civil war with no regard for the consequences. But, for now, the march to bombing Syria has been halted. Sadly, however, the doveish side in this debate has also been driven more by self-regard than political principle. Cameron-criticising MPs did not take a principled stand against the idea of bombing a foreign country; they simply said, “not yet”. Commentators argued against attacking Syria on the basis that it would cost too much in an era of recession, that it would put ‘Our Boys’ in harm’s way, and most notably that it would generate “blowback” – that is, more terrorist attacks against us in the West. This is an opposition to war driven more by an urge for self-preservation. The reason the hawks want to intervene is to ‘save themselves’ – or an image of themselves, and the reason the doves don’t want to intervene is to save themselves from financial burdens or risk of terrorism. Consequently, we haven’t had the debate we need to have about foreign military ventures – whether we have the right to launch them in the first place, and what their impact will be. The end result is that while the hawks have temporarily lost the argument over bombing Syria, their broader belief that the West must sometimes act as a Tomahawk-firing saviour remains largely unscathed, and could come back to life – and death – at any moment. • Brendan O’Neill is the editor of Spiked Online

Inside / Science and technology

Voyage of discovery Science delivers such wonders there’s no need for total understanding

Robin Ince

Photography: Thinkstock

■ There is no way around it, science can be hard.
When we are children, science is fun. It’s looking at spiders’ webs, watching elements fizz, spark and bang on water, and, for the very lucky ones, seeing a banana made brittle by liquid nitrogen, then smashed with a hammer. After all the spectacle, things start to get tricky. When the gunpowder rainbow is forgotten, the investigation begins. As school continues, the world of chemicals and atoms seems distinct from the world, as if science is separate to everyday life rather than a part of it, even if unseen.

The periodic table, the ingredients list of this planet and beyond, is something to be copied down and remembered. As things get harder, some people decide they don’t have a science brain. We suppose scientists are a different breed with some kind of special gene that gives them a propensity to comprehend particles and multiverses. You are happy they exist as they make toys you like to play with, but you’d rather not socialise as they make you uncomfortable. We fear being confronted by our ignorance. People read books on quantum physics, then put them down and say sadly, and with finality, “well I still don’t understand that, back to books on war and Nazis”. Understanding takes time. You may not have the grand victory of declaring, “and now I completely comprehend what it is to live in a probabilistic universe, I shall take my cat back out of the box”, but you have the first inklings of once unbelievable ideas.
I am lucky enough to spend much of my working life quizzing

● We suppose scientists are a different breed with some kind of special gene

scientists. My eyebrows frequently buckle as they tell me about their work and new ideas explaining why our universe is as it is. I am increasingly comfortable saying to them, “you seem to have lost me at the point of Lagrangian mechanics”.

Ignorance is not bliss

They do not then laugh in my face or strike me with a surgical glove, but instead try to explain in words simple enough for me to understand. I am beginning to get used to my ignorance.
 I was chairing an event with Brian Cox a few years ago. The questions covered everything from quarks to the possibility of surviving a journey through a black hole wearing lead wellington boots. Then a child at the front put his hand up. The audience smiled, ready to be charmed by a simple question on rainbows or Martians.
“Professor Cox, dark energy, is it likely to ever be proved to be real or is it merely a myth created by scientists for any area of knowledge we’ll never truly understand?”
To which Brian replied, “we are having a bit of trouble with that one, so we’ll take the next question”.
 After a gig at the Dartington festival, I was approached by someone who said, “I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but my boyfriend has set up his telescope in the secret garden at the back and we wondered if you’d like to look through it?”
I found myself staring at Saturn. It was thrilling and as I looked at it, I Saturn’s rings are still thought how another missing piece in the infinite jigsaw of humans still don’t really know why it cosmic questions has those rings. Don’t fear facing the chasms in your knowledge, enjoy the journey trying to find out a little more day-by-day. You may not have a PhD or Nobel Prize at the end of it, but you will have those frissons of excitement as you think of the jiggling atoms that make all the solids you see or consider the incredible variety of life on this planet every time you hear birdsong. • Robin is a comedian, actor and writer. He copresents The Infinite Monkey Cage with Brian Cox on BBC Radio and has launched an app, The Incomplete Map of the Cosmic Genome, available in the App Store

14 | THE POST |

After sticking with black, white and shiny silver for years, colour finally comes to an iPhone near you

Best of TECH

3D video calls with Skype Skype, the video calling service that allows you to speak to relatives on the other side of the world, has confirmed it’s developing 3D video calling. Microsoft’s VP for Skype, Mark Gillett, admits it could be a long way off because capture devices are not yet advanced enough. However, 3D Skype could give the technology a much-needed boost.

Robot slaves have landed We’re edging closer to a house full of robots, thanks to the new floor-mopping iRobot Braava. Braava mops hard surfaces with reusable microfibre cloths. Using GPS, it builds a map of the room to ensure it covers every section of the floor; when done it returns to where it started and shuts off. It’s also very quiet, so you won’t realise it’s there. £199.99,

Unlock your iPhone with a fingerprint. The sensor works better than similar scanners on laptops but struggles with sweaty fingers

Apple’s kaleidoscopic new phones Two new iPhones There are two new iPhones in town: the iPhone 5S and the cheaper iPhone 5C. The 5S is the successor to the iPhone 5, and sports a fingerprint scanner built into its home button so you can unlock the phone or purchase apps with your hand as a password. It’s super nippy, thanks to a new A7 processor, and features the new iOS 7 and an eight megapixel camera. It’s available as 16GB (£529), 32GB (£629) and 64GB (£709). That’s you sorted this Christmas but what about the little ones? Enter the iPhone 5C, featuring a choice of glossy cases (pink, blue, yellow, white and green). This slightly more affordable iPhone weighs in at £469 and features a four-inch display and the same processor as the old iPhone 5. See for more details

Desktop 3D Printer The 3D printing revolution is here and soon you’ll be able to print everything from new shoes to a medium-rare steak. In the meantime, it’s all about tiny, plastic objects. The Cubify Cube is the size of a tabletop coffee machine and has a maximum print size of 140mm cubed. Resin cartridges cost £38, and small objects (such as a chess piece) print in under two hours. £1,021, | THE POST | 15

Inside / TV digest What the critics said

That was then, this is now

Never mess with a classic – unless you’ve got access to at least $100m and Kevin Spacey House of Cards (1990) House of Cards, Season One (2013) Watch them both now on Netflix ( on your Smart TV, online or via a media streamer such as a PS3 House of Cards, Season Two will be released on Netflix in Spring 2014 Critics John Crace, The Guardian Sarah Hughes, The Independent Rachel Cooke, New Statesmen Alessandra Stanley, New York Times Benjamin Secher, The Telegraph

“You might very well think that, I couldn’t possibly comment.” In the original, Urquhart was played brilliantly by Ian Richardson

16 | THE POST |

■ As Barack Obama once said: “Everyone knows politics is a contact sport.” Some are far more adept at taking the knocks and bruises than others though, as evidenced by Francis Urquhart in the classic UK drama series House of Cards. Urquhart (Ian Richardson), chief whip of the Tory party, manoeuvred and backstabbed his way through the Andrew Davis screenplay, all hubris and menace. In his own words, ‘a no-nonsense old-fashioned Tory’, Richardson’s performance was so convincing it helped expedite the modern-day view of the politician as neither saint nor saviour, but self-propelling and self-perpetuating. The series was adapted from the novel by Michael Dobbs, a former Chief of Staff at Conservative Party HQ. Released soon after Thatcher left office, it was widely acclaimed and now a recent US remake takes it to a younger generation. With a rumoured budget of $100m, director David Fincher behind the camera and Kevin Spacey in front, the US House of Cards was a bold move by on-demand subscription channel Netflix into original drama. With Netflix also housing the original mini-series, it’s a fascinating opportunity to compare the two.

The original series is a hard act to follow. As The Guardian’s John Crace noted: “The original was doubly blessed, both with its timing as its first screening coincided with the dark arts of the Tory leadership election following Thatcher’s resignation, and in Ian Richardson giving the performance of his career as Tory grandee Francis Urquhart.” Daisy Bowe-Sell from the BBC agreed, “The original is not as slick or well shot, but it is one of the more gruesome examples of Machiavellian tactics, and it is back-stabbingly glorious.” Indeed, you can’t find a negative word about the original. Even more unexpected is the near universal praise for the sequel. “What the 2013 version lacks in novelty, it more than compensates for in subtlety,” adds Crace. “Netflix’s remake is stylistically and amorally faithful to the original BBC political thriller.” Sarah Hughes in The Independent agreed: “It creates a compelling, original drama without trampling over our memories in the process.” And the praise continued in the New Statesmen, where Rachel Cooke wrote: “The writing is good; really sharp and nasty. But it would all be for nothing if it weren’t for Spacey.” There were some dissenting voices, mostly in the US, where they prefer their drama with more bang. Alessandra Stanley wrote in The New York Times: “The tempo is slow and oddly ponderous – a romp slowed down to a dirge.” And it wasn’t just the tempo, but also the script, that Stanley felt let the side down. “Mr. Spacey’s lines don’t always live up to the subtle power of his performance; the writing isn’t Shakespeare, or even Aaron Sorkin, and at times, it turns strangely trite.” ‘Piffle’ would have been the response from Benjamin Secher in The Telegraph, who opined: “It’s the most remarkable new television drama of the year.” Watch both series on Netflix now and make your own mind up. As Martin Hoyle said about the remake in the Financial Times: “All 13 episodes are available, to be gulped down in a dyspepsia-provoking marathon of conspiracy, betrayal and cynical amorality, or savoured at digestion-friendly intervals…” So, how will you take yours?

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Inside / Book club The book Life After Life Kate Atkinson

“During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910 the same baby is born and lives. What if we had the chance to live our lives again and again, until we got it right?”

What if ?

Imagine living your life over and over again until you got it right... Kate Atkinson’s new book explores the possibilities Jean Elgie

■ Kate Atkinson’s first book Behind the Scenes at the Museum is one of the best I’ve read, and she has been a favourite of mine ever since. I picked up her latest title – which was shortlisted for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction – without having read a single review as I was intrigued by the prospect of reliving life with different endings. The ‘what if’ scenarios – stuff of nightmares or eternal hope? The book follows Ursula Todd, the baby who survives, through various time-travel permutations of her life from an idyllic English country childhood through two world wars and into the 60s. Sounds simple enough, yet Atkinson’s clever construction uncovers each of Ursula’s rebirths as an attempt to prevent the traumas of previous lives: the fall from the roof; the paedophile; the Spanish flu; a stint with Hitler and Eva Braun. It’s not an easy read as time is like a palimpsest and Atkinson keeps you on your toes with a large number of characters, some of whom appear never to be seen again. But the longest section of the book on the Blitz during World War Two is stunningly vivid and bears witness to a past in which you can almost smell the cabbage and burning rubble and flesh. I’m still not sure about the ending, though – it’s either very clever or a weak letdown.

try these Someone Else’s Wedding Tamar Cohen Jamie Irving texts spiky heroine Fran as he walks down the aisle. A gripping comedy of modern wedding manners.

Bomb Girls Jacky Hyams In their own words, the 2m women who kept the war effort going through WW2 and the dangers they faced with sheer resilience.

The book club Jean Elgie, Rosie Chamberlain, Mandy James and Alice Wylde. Join the club for yourself – see page 41 for details on joining our reader panel. RC I too love Kate Atkinson and find her clever yet accessible. It wasn’t the easiest of reads on my Kindle as I found it hard to flip back and forth. The endless possibilities – and the different outcomes – are intriguing and Atkinson sustains it to a satisfying conclusion. Events change, yet the characters develop consistently, from her remote mother Sylvie to her adored brother Teddy. MJ I found the construction challenging yet clever as it reflects life itself, which is so unpredictable. I became immersed in what aspects of her life Ursula would replay. In parts it did fall down – too many characters; not all of them relevant. I did find I was skipping back and forth a lot, and it would help to read it in two goes, if not one. But it was beautifully written with a fittingly apt ending. AW There were some stunning, descriptive passages, particularly those of the Blitz, but overall I was disappointed. I found the constant revisiting of scenes and events, each with a slightly different slant (some more plausible than others) disorientating. Perhaps if I’d been able to read it in one sitting, this would have been less so. The ending was the least plausible part and the biggest disappointment. 18 | THE POST |

Stoner John Williams The tale of an unremarkable literature professor at a midwestern university. At its heart is the idea that every life has a value. Brilliant.

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Inside / Eight things

Red hot cuisine


Add a splash of colour to your kitchen. Georgina Crawshaw reviews some of the most stylish gadgets on the market 3



Photography: Danny Bird


20 | THE POST |




1. Firecracker Mixer KMX84 Kenwood • £400 • Talk about the icing on the cake - this mixer is as much a work of art as it is a kitchen accessory. Bold and beautiful, the Firecracker successfully combines contemporary style with classic Kenwood functionality. With multiple speed settings, and a range of clever attachments to choose from, you really can have your cake and eat it too! 2. Tykho AM/FM Radio Lexon • £45 • It’s easy to see why this radio is part of the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. Small and chic, its award-winning design is moulded from one piece of rubber - so it’s both shock resistant and splash proof. The perfect (musical) accompaniment to any kitchen. 3. Bistro Electric Hand Mixer Bodum • £54 • Why bring out the big guns when this little beauty can do the job just as well? Small but perfectly formed, the nifty Bistro mixer from Bodum comes with five speed settings and can handle anything you throw at it from whipped cream to bread dough. Not only that but it looks pretty swish too. Oh, and the power cord rolls up inside the mixer for easy storage - neat. 4. Capsule Kitchen Scale Typhoon • £29 • Go retro with these 50s-inspired stainless steel scales from Typhoon. The curvaceous body and easy-to-read display (up to 2kgs/4lbs) make the Capsule Kitchen Scale not only a practical, but fashionable, addition to your kitchen worktop. It’s far too good looking to keep it shut away in the cupboard!

5. Artisan Kettle KitchenAid • £119 • From its smooth and sleek design to the innovative adjustable temperature setting (50°C to 100°C) and handy, builtin gauge, the Artisan kettle is a cut above the rest. It’s perfect for delicate herbal teas and speciality coffee blends – boiling water will never be the same. 6. G-Plus Toaster Guzzini • £75 • Funky and fresh, this two-slice designer toaster simply oozes Italian style. The insulated casing keeps the outer body cool to the touch - even when the browning control is set to max. And the manual toasting cages are simply ingenious - never lose a crumpet or burn your fingers transferring your toast to the plate again! 7. Assam Tea Press Bodum • £29 • They say a watched kettle never boils but a watched Assam Tea Press definitely brews - we can vouch for it. Using the same system as the French Press it gives full control of the tea steeping process and the plunger locks the leaves into the bottom of the filter so no escapees! From herbal infusions to English Breakfast, it makes the perfect cuppa. 8. Nespresso Citiz and Milk Fire Engine Red (XN7106) Krups • £199 • Nespresso have been making great espressos for more than 20 years, so if you’re not already a member of their exclusive club, wake up and smell the coffee. The Krups Citiz and Milk is fitted with a number of impressive features, including an energy saving mode and Aeroccino, so you too can make endless cups with fresh, frothy milk - cappuccino anyone? | THE POST | 21

Inside / Drink

The perfect match

■ We have a joke in our family that Susie, an inveterate sun lover, has two seasons in her year: summer, and waiting for summer. Autumn is inevitably a season of mixed feelings. The upside is the array of comfort food that arrives on the table – and the hearty wines to wash it all down in delectable fashion. For some, the mention of matching wine and food elicits raised eyebrows. Isn’t it just pretentious tosh for coffee table books and earnest lifestyle telly? On one level, it’s hard to disagree. If there’s a lot of twaddle talked about wine, the codswallop ratio soars when food enters the equation. François Chartier’s theory of molecular aromatic synergies, for example, examines the compounds shared by wines and foods as a means of predicting great pairings. Rotundone is found in the Syrah grape variety as well as peppers, seaweed and black olives, so they match well. We enjoyed a sensational combination of barrel-aged Cabernet Sauvignon alongside beef tataki with charred red pepper and grilled sesame oil (due to the pyrazines found in both ingredients and wine). There’s no magic formula to getting it right. “We can’t reduce this to simple mechanics,” commented Josep Roca, sommelier at the vaunted El Celler de Can Roca, who stressed the importance of personal tastes, expectations and circumstances. “It’s about understanding people,” he adds. For us, it’s simple. Wine is like another condiment on the table – yet one capable of transforming a decent meal into a delightful one. Being natural hedonists, we think that’s worth

Science and philosophy mix when you match wine with food, but you can’t “For some, the mention of matching wine beat rolling your sleeves and food elicits raised eyebrows” up and experimenting

Illustration: Nicholas Saunders

Susie & Peter

a bit of effort to get right. You can’t get it spot on every time, but it’s fun trying and the occasional fireworks make it worthwhile. To research our recommendations for Saturday Kitchen or the BBC Good Food Show, we try a recipe with as many bottles as it takes. (Claude Bosi’s halibut with grapefruit and pork pie sauce saw more corks popped than most.) Method precedes the fervour. Think F&W: flavour and weight. First, identify the dominant flavours in the dish (hint: it’s rarely pasta or chicken), then think of a wine that sits well alongside these. Carbonara sauce is salty, creamy and rich, so an oaky-yet-crisp Chardonnay will refresh the palate – an underrated benefit of wine – as well as complement the flavours. Fruity rosé soothes the spice and tang of tikka massala sauce. In terms of weight, heavy dishes need richer wines (mushroom risotto often works best with a red, not white) and vice versa – think oysters and Muscadet. The theory only takes you so far; so we tend to stock our cellar with wines that are versatile with all kinds of food. Our recommendations (right) take in three of the best (and best value): Rioja, Pinot Noir and Chablis. Sauvignon Blanc is another top tip, for fish or fusion dishes (it’s also beautiful with goat’s cheese). All guaranteed to banish the autumn blues. • Susie & Peter are wine experts from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen. They are the youngest married Masters of Wine and do a mean Sunday lunch. Find out more at

22 | THE POST |

TRY THESE Aldi French Pinot Noir (£4.49) – fresh, tangy, simple style. Fantastic value and perfect with bangers & mash. CVNE Rioja Reserva 2008 (from £9.99, Majestic) – smooth, seductive and classic. Brilliant with all kinds of autumnal fare. Organic Chablis Brocard 2010 (£14.99, M&S) – invigorating and complex; matches everything from poached salmon to roast chicken (we’re sure Geoffrey Palmer would approve – see p70). Next issue: Christmas wines with a twist

“Our door is always open”

T JUSTTEX G N GIVItion by text

ona Make a d 70070 Dial F11 Text: TRT amount e th y b Followed to donate you wish t easy. a th ’s It

The Royal Theatrical Fund

was founded in 1839 by Charles Dickens to provide financial assistance for members of the entertainment profession.

Every year the Fund provides support and financial help to over 400 people of all ages. We come to the rescue of all who have worked professionally in the Performing Arts - to all who are in need as a result of illness, accident or old age. The Fund dispenses more than money; applicants’ needs vary and may not only be financial. Those living alone welcome a friendly visit with a chance to talk and unburden anxieties. “I am so fortunate to have been in such a caring profession with people who really do care” Please help us to help others and carry on the legacy of our first Chairman. Our First Chairman Charles Dickens


Gifts by will, please consider leaving a legacy however large or small. For further information or to make a donation contact Sharon Lomas The Royal Theatrical Fund The 11 Garrick Street, WC2E 9AR Tel 020 7836 3322 Email Reg. Charity No. 222080


Theatrical Fund

Inside / Shopping

Groceries without the queues Buying groceries online should be easy but do the big retailers get it right? Georgina Crawshaw tests their digital stores

■ Online grocery shopping offers pretty much everything you get in store... and then some. From multibuys and special deals, to collecting loyalty points and the ability to search by ‘aisle’. Imagine also being able to store your shopping list for future use, or load a basket full of favourites at the click of a button? You might not be able to choose your own fruit and veg, but these days, personal shoppers are pretty clued up, and supermarkets rarely quibble about refunds. The four main high-street competitors (and Ocado, who source from Waitrose) boast websites that are very similar in their functionality with search features, running totals and special offer reminders – not to mention the ability to add forgotten items (before your order is picked, obviously). So, to coin one of Sainsbury’s slogans, ‘why not try something new today?’

24 | THE POST |



■ From the off, we’re tearing our hair out

■ A little busy, but bursting with bonus

because special offers are showing at full price in the basket. Turns out you need to be logged in and have a delivery slot selected, which is good practice anyway.

features, such as product ratings and customer reviews. Plus, you are able to import your ‘favourites’ lists from the other major supermarkets.

Shopping: Minimum order £25. There’s no ‘Order by price’ and this is the only site with no stored shopping list. The search option needs work – why does a search for ‘bananas’ include grapes in the results?

Shopping: Minimum order £40. As well as sorting by price and product name, you can organise results by shelf life. Unfortunately, fruit is all pre-packed, and we’ve heard complaints about bag packing.

Delivery: One–hour slots from 9am-11pm Mon-Fri; 9am-8pm Sat; 10am-10pm Sun. Prices from £2.99-£6.95 (orders over £100 are free Tues-Thurs). Order deadline is 11pm the day before delivery.

Delivery: One-hour slots from 6am11.30pm daily (even Sun). Sign up to Ocado Smart Pass (from £2.50 a month) for free delivery. Deadline for placing/amending orders is in the confirmation email.

Check out: The ‘Ideas’ bit has interesting options, such as products that are ‘New in store’ and ‘Environmentally responsible’. The ‘First-time shopper’ is a good concept in theory – but lacks some obvious basics.

Check out: We like the green delivery option to help save fuel, and Ocado’s suggested order feature is just plain genius (based on what you’ve bought, how often and how many).

App: iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia Very slow (we lost count of the times we saw the ‘loading’ symbol) and poorly designed. The text is far too small for the screen size; the buttons are so small they’re hard to select and a lot of unnecessary text confuses things.

App: iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry It’s suprisingly sluggish considering we’re on wi-fi, especially loading images. It’s also annoying that individual item prices aren’t displayed in the basket, but the barcode scanner is great.

Rating: 4/10

Rating: 9/10

Sainsbury’s might be ‘everybody’s favourite ingredient’ but they’re certainly not our favourite site or app. They really need to iron out those functionality issues.

A few teething problems to be found in Ocado’s app, but all in all this offers an excellent shopping experience – both within the app and on the website.

POST Recommended THE




■ Asda’s website seems to forget that

■ They say ‘every little helps’ and Tesco’s

■ The Waitrose site looks crisp and clean,

space is of the essence. The adverts and product suggestions (which bear no relation to items in the trolley or searches) waste valuable real estate.

site has lots of clever extras, such as search by offer type (Only £1, BOGOF etc) and the handy meal planner, which can automatically populate your basket.

but the content doesn’t deliver and, worst of all, some of it isn’t even current. Fancy having a forum that isn’t live, as well as listing broken links on the site map!

Shopping: Minimum order £25. You have to do more clicking to narrow down to ‘shelf’ level, and you can’t sort by price. But you can refine your search using options such as ‘brand’ and ‘price range’.

Shopping: Minimum order £40. We like the drop-down menus for quick access to the ‘shelf’ level, and the fact that substitutions don’t incur an extra charge (even if they’re more expensive).

Shopping: Minimum order £50. Trolley layout could be better and there’s extra text that confuses the content. Make sure you’re on the grocery tab when you search, or the results will be a surprise!

Delivery: From 7am-10pm, seven days a week with either two- or eight-hour slots available. Prices start from £2 or the ‘Click and collect from store’ service is free. Order deadline is 11pm the day before.

Delivery: One-hour slots from 8am-11pm Mon-Fri; 8am-10pm Sat; 10am-10pm Sun. Home delivery from £3, click and collect for free or ‘Delivery Saver’ from £7.50 a month. Deadline is 11.45pm the day before.

Delivery: Free home delivery and ‘Clickand-collect’ service. One-hour time slots from 7am-10pm all week. The deadline for placing or amending orders is 11.45pm the day before.

Check out: We very much like the fact that you can give your old plastic bags to the driver for recycling. Plus, if you’re looking for a bargain, Asda’s ‘Price Guarantee’ is still valid for online shops.

Check out: We like how you can leave your personal shopper a message, saying you prefer green bananas, and the ‘Product life’ logo which tells you how long a perishable product will be at its best when it arrives.

Check out: Being able to add notes to your personal shopper is great, and we like the option to create lists from a previous order or the current trolley contents. It just took a while to figure out how.

App: iOS and Android The barcode scanner is a little temperamental and offers aren’t highlighted in the trolley. But there are no annoying adverts, you can sort your search results by price and we like the way the product flies into the trolley so you know it has been added.

App: iOS and Android The barcode scanner works very well (with a reassuring beep) and it’s pretty easy to navigate. However, savings aren’t calculated until you check out and adding or removing items is cumbersome as it only works with just one at a time.

App: No apps While there is no actual grocery shopping app available, Waitrose do offer over 200 recipes and up-to-date information on in-store offers via a special app. For details, search ‘Waitrose’ in the App Store or Google Play.

Rating: 6/10

Rating: 8/10

Rating: 4/10

The Asda price might be best for your bank account, but shopping with them online might not be best for your sanity. Unless you want to shop from your mobile, that is.

Good design, excellent functionality, and user-friendly to boot. Tesco’s site certainly seems to have it all - it’s just a shame their app lets them down.

It’s a well-known fact that you pay a premium for Waitrose food – it’s a shame the website doesn’t match up to the brand, and there’s no mobile app. | THE POST | 25

Finance / Inside

The new housing bubble

Not everything is going well for the government, but with rising house prices they’ve got their eyes on the prize

Illustration: Christian Adams

John Stepek

■ Just when you thought it was safe to switch on the telly without being assaulted by Phil Spencer or Sarah Beeny, property fever is back in the UK. A government promise to guarantee up to £130 billion worth of home loans has lit a fire under the market, even beyond the usual suspects of London and southeast England. Warnings of another house price bubble are hitting the headlines. Small wonder. The stated goal of the government’s Help to Buy scheme is to make it easier for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder by effectively forcing the taxpayer to stand behind their mortgages. In turn – so the argument goes – rising demand will encourage builders to build more homes, which will make housing more affordable overall. But, while it may be true that Britain is in need of more better-built and better-designed houses in certain locations, this has nothing to do with affordability. House prices aren’t driven by the supply of property, but by supply and demand for credit. The more money you can borrow to buy a house, the higher the price you can pay. So if the government makes it easier to borrow – by slashing interest rates and subsidising mortgages – then house prices will only rise further to match. So is this policy a failure? Not at all – as long as you understand that this is the true goal of Help to Buy. The next election is in 2015; if you want to win over a ‘swing’ voter, you have to make them feel as though their personal situation has improved under your leadership. In a nation of homeowners


“House prices aren’t driven by the supply of property, but by supply and demand for credit”

Breeding ground for scams Another unwanted side effect of low interest rates is that they have created a fertile breeding ground for scam merchants, who promise beleaguered savers high returns for little risk. The list is endless – from carbon credits to obscure metals to exotic shares – but all prey on our desire to get rich quick, and many thousands are conned each year. Don’t be one of them; if an offer sounds too good to be true, it is. Hang up or hit delete.

like Britain, the quickest and easiest way to do that is to drive house prices higher. It’s hard not to feel good if your house ‘earned’ more money than you in the past year. A new house price bubble is not a side effect of the policy; it is the goal. In fact, the government’s recent improved showing in the polls correlates directly with the rise in house prices, according to consultancy Capital Economics, who also believe an annual rise of 5-10% is all it will take to secure an election victory. In short, the price of a semi in Highgate has far more impact on the election than any number of eggs in the face of Ed Miliband. None of this is sustainable. House prices remain too high by historical standards, even now. Keeping them at these levels depends on interest rates remaining low. Yet new Bank of England governor Mark Carney is already struggling to convince markets he will be able to keep rates at today’s 0.5% beyond 2015. When rates rise, many of today’s buyers will find they can’t afford their mortgages. Worse still – and unlike the 2008 crisis – the over-burdened taxpayer will directly be on the hook. Election-fixated politicians can dismiss this as tomorrow’s problem, but anyone taking on a new mortgage today has to think a lot further ahead than 2015. If you really need ‘Help to Buy’, then should you be buying at all?

It’s not just us… Think I’m overly cynical about British politicians? If it makes you feel better, it’s not just us. In America, the best time to buy stocks is roughly halfway through a president’s four-year term. That’s because the incumbent goes all out to ramp up the economy artificially, to ensure voters feel good ahead of the next election. The worst time to invest is in the year after the election, when the hangover kicks in.

• John Stepek is the editor of MoneyWeek. Are you worried about a new housing bubble? Email us at: | THE POST | 27

Inside / Health

Should everyone over 50 be taking statins to reduce cholesterol? Dr Roger Henderson

arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attacks and strokes. These risks rise as cholesterol levels increase, and if other factors – such as high blood pressure and smoking – are present, the risk increases even more significantly. The greatest danger is when someone has high levels of LDL and triglycerides, and low levels of HDL cholesterol.

Photography: Getty

Alternative options?

■ We all need cholesterol; without it our bodies would simply stop working properly as it is used to coat nerve fibres to help make our nerve impulses work correctly. It also helps in the production of hormones. Cholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins, of which there are three main types. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it can cause disease of the body’s arteries. Conversely, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as ‘good’ cholesterol, because it helps prevent this arterial disease. The third type is triglycerides, produced by the liver and foods such as dairy products and cooking oils. Levels of cholesterol typically range from 3 to over 7mmol/litre, but a level above 6mmol/l is considered as high, and a risk factor for arterial disease. Government targets are less than 5, but in the UK, two in three adults have a total cholesterol level greater than this with an 28 | THE POST |

average level of 5.5 for men and 5.6 for women – a number higher than most of our European counterparts. Medical evidence shows that high cholesterol levels can cause narrowing of the

Should anyone with a mildly raised cholesterol level be taking medication such as statins, which have been shown to reduce not just cholesterol levels, but also the risk of major vascular events? Well, not without increasing physical activity and improving their diet first. Whether people who are not at risk of heart disease should be on treatment to keep their cholesterol levels down below 5mmol/l is currently highly

● i don’t believe a blanket policy [for statins] is either necessary or helpful How to reduce cholesterol levels without taking statins ● Take regular exercise ● Eat a ‘healthy-fat’ diet and take soluble fibre, such as that found in oats, fresh fruit and vegetables. Make sure you avoid fatty meats – pies, sausages and burgers, as well as full-fat dairy products ● Take plant stenols and sterols, which have the same effect as statins. Eat oily fish packed with omega-3 oils, which have been shown to help raise HDL levels

controversial, especially as these are the costliest class of NHS drugs, with three million people in this country taking them – a 17-fold rise since 1997. There are also potential side effects to statins, such as muscle pains, indigestion and fatigue. If you don’t have any other risk factors for a heart attack or stroke – aside from being over 50 – then you won’t get nearly as much benefit from taking a statin as someone who does, while you’re just as likely to suffer from the side effects. The risk-to-benefit ratio is far less strongly weighed on the benefit side. I have patients in their early thirties who are obese smokers, and they carry a very high risk of having a heart attack or stroke at any time. But I also have patients twice their age with as low a risk as is possible, which is why I don’t believe a blanket policy which sees everyone over a certain age being prescribed statins is either necessary or sensible. In fact, it’s far better to take each person on an individual basis, calculate the risk of heart disease and look to a healthier lifestyle first, rather than automatically reaching out for the prescription pad. Galen – the father of modern medicine – said almost two thousand years ago that the three best physicians were ‘Dr Diet, Dr Quiet and Dr Merryman’. As a doctor at the sharp end of the NHS, I believe he still has a valid point. • Roger Henderson is the senior partner of a six-doctor general practice in Shropshire. If you have a question for him about any aspect of your health, email him at

Health / Inside

Nicknamed ‘Inca Gold’, quinoa rivals couscous and rice on trendy dinner tables. But does it live up to the hype? Tina Lofthouse

● Pronounced ‘keenwah’, it’s claimed to help stave off disease, including some cancers and osteoporosis, while aiding weight loss and hair growth. ● A 2010 review in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture described quinoa as an “excellent example of functional food that aims at lowering the risk of various diseases”, adding it showed proven good results in brain neuronal functions. ● Protein and mineral levels are high. It is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper, and vitamins B, C and E. It’s high in fibre and gluten-free. ● On the downside, it’s been suggested that because quinoa’s protective coating contains saponins, it could be mildly toxic. But no one is certain whether saponins are good or bad. One school of thought has it that they could help lower cholesterol and they’ve been linked to a reduction in colon cancer. ● On the whole the evidence is positive. As the British Nutrition Foundation says: “There are no super foods – just super diets – as no one food can provide you with all the nutrients you need.” ● It contains oxalates, so those on a low-oxalate diet should look to avoid quinoa.

• For more information, visit, and where you should search for ‘quinoa’ | THE POST | 29

Photography: Getty

The quinoa gold rush

what you need to know

Inside / Try it now

Pictures: © Helen Tovey

Thanks to the internet, records of your family history are much easier to find than they used to be... the past could be more revealing than you ever imagined

Trace your family tree Real-life stories can be the best and you have all the tools needed to start tracing your roots today Helen Tovey

■ We all like – even need – to feel rooted and connected, to know where we came from and where we’re headed. Whether you hail from a family brimming with amusing anecdotes and bulging photo albums or one where the past is a closed door, taking time to research your family tree is always worthwhile. If your family is anything like mine, don’t expect a tale of endless dusty decency. The branches of my tree have their share of wartime heroes decked with medals and devoted mums of broods of eight. But the genealogy journey can be eye-opening. I was brought up knowing that one of my grandfathers was a ‘Rangoon rat’ – shot down, starved and held in solitary confinement from late 1944 in Burma. To accompany this terrible experience was the family memory that his father had not even got up from his armchair to wish his son well when the young pilot had gone off to war. Heartless? I thought so too until I decided to research my great grandfather’s life. With the

“If your family is anything like mine, don’t expect a tale of endless dusty decency” unmistakeable you-couldn’t-make-this-stuff-up that family history so often reveals, I discovered he too had been a prisoner of war (in the Second Anglo-Boer War), and had gone on to get an MC in World War I. This revelation put a very different slant on the old family stories. Perhaps my great grandfather wasn’t an old stuffed shirt after all, but rather someone who had seen more than his share of war and the last thing he wanted was to be sending his only son off to fight. This story reveals much about why family history is so vital. Our ancestors’ lives are littered with names and dates that mean very little to us, but with a little research the past soon opens itself up and becomes something we can relate to and learn from. As the centenary of the First World War looms, there’s no better time to discover more about your ancestors and the part they played. One thing’s for certain: you won’t be bored. • Helen Tovey is the editor of Family Tree magazine 30 | THE POST |



Start with yourself and your relatives and work backwards; names, birth, marriage and death dates, as well as places for each ancestor.


Use websites with birth, marriage and death records (searchable from mid 1800s to early 2000s), and the census records (1841-1911). Try,,, or


Add your tree to the cloud and benefit from the discoveries of fellow researchers (just make sure you double check facts). Find cloud tree builders at, genesreunited., and



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Telephone: 01737 457 890 Or email: | THE POST | 31

Photography: Getty illustration: Linda Duong

Feature / State of the nation

32 | THE POST |

Has B R I TA I N lo s t it s bit e ? 100 people, eight questions. what do we really think of the world we live in today? words: Joe Simmons


ust a small island no one pays any attention to. These exact words may or may not have been said by Dmitry Peskov, official spokesman for the Russian President Vladimir Putin – he has since denied saying it – but the rumours were enough to stir the British PM into action at the recent G20 summit. In a scene eerily reminiscent of Hugh Grant’s ‘small country’ speech in the film Love Actually (“We may be a small country but we’re a great one too”), David Cameron delivered a stirring tribute to Britain, or as he called it “this sceptered isle”. “Yes we are a small island… but I would challenge anyone to come up with a country with a prouder history, with a bigger heart, with a greater resilience.” He went on to talk about our contributions to the world, “our literature, our art, our philosophy and, of course, the world’s language”. Putting aside the fact that the ‘small island’ that comprises England, Scotland and Wales is actually the ninth biggest in the world, you could say he had a point. But are our best days behind us?

To find out if Britain still possesses a bite we interviewed 100 random people, 20 from each of the following age groups – 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s+.

We wanted to find out if there is common ground between the ages, a belief that there is still something about being British that should make us proud. But these are changing times and some of the issues facing us today – same sex marriage, drugs and the EU – simply weren’t part and parcel of life decades ago. So are our attitudes shaped more by age and circumstance? Have we lost our unique identity? Read on and find out what a generation really thinks about the state of Great Britain in 2013. The results might surprise you. | THE POST | 33

Feature / State of the nation

“I think that people are more willing to discuss their feelings these days” Betty gordon, 78

a more caring society when you were young? 1 IsthanBritain

■ We don’t get a choice geographically of where we grow up, and as adults, many post-war babies born in smaller towns and villages were among the first in their family to move to bigger cities. Common among all age groups, particularly those who had moved from their childhood towns, is the mourning of a golden age. A time when people would look out for each another. Janice Bryden, 59, is typical: “I could leave my front door open, and no one would take anything. If they tried the neighbours would stop them. Nowadays, no one wants to get involved.” Those in their 40s and 50s were the most pessimistic, citing the breakdown of the family unit, a decreasing lack of respect for the elderly (particularly among white ethnic groups), and of an increasingly insular society focused on money. But older respondents did not uniformly agree. “In some ways the country is more caring,” said Betty Gordon, a 78-yearold retired welfare rights advisor. “People are more willing to discuss their feelings these days, and more likely to hug.” These older respondents were more likely to appreciate that the ignorance around psychological and learning disabilities has been replaced by widely available information on conditions from basic dyslexia to post-traumatic stress syndrome, as well as knowledge about how the brain may deteriorate in later years. Nationally too, as a ‘caring society’ the government’s own commitment to maintaining the overseas aid budget, support offered by the welfare state and the increase in specialised charities, were all signs of a more caring Britain as well as recognition of the need for ramps and lifts on public transport. David Cameron’s push towards his ‘Big Society’ vision was often scorned as naïve politics. Instead, the retired tend to give to charity (according to the Charities Aid Foundation, the over 60s are twice as likely to donate as under 30s). For the next generation, there’s likely to be a more pragmatic observation. Colin Appleby, a 52-year-old PR consultant, says: “Britain has always been a caring society. What’s happened is the formalising of care and the shrugging off of the caring chore onto institutions. When I was young in the 60s, if a neighbour hit hard times, you lent them a cup of sugar. Now, you tell them which DSS number to call and help with the forms.”



The amount given to charity in 2010 (the most recent year for which data is available). The top ten charities are for humans, animals and birds

42% The number of respondents who felt Britain is stronger as part of the EU

The number of people who think Britain is more caring than it used to be


The number of Brits living abroad. According to Home Office data, Australia, Spain, America, France and Germany are the most popular destinations

“We’ve had over 70 years without a war [in Europe]. That’s remarkable” chris mellon, 50

Would you live in a different country if you could?

■ Relocation to warmer climates versus Marmite and Radio 4 – perhaps that’s an oversimplification, and nowadays there’s no reason not to have both wherever you are. However, most of you raised practical ties of family and work commitments that meant Blighty would remain home. We may live longer and get around more, but relocating to another country by the time we hit 70 is inconceivable for most. It is estimated that 351,000 UK residents have migrated from the UK in 2011. Of these, 89% were of 34 | THE POST |


working age and although much has been made of the numbers retiring abroad – peaking at 22,000 in 2006 – these have returned to normal levels of between 4,000 to 8,000 a year in recent times. Those who’ve lived abroad before most appreciate what we all might miss. “I’ve lived in America for 16 years, and Germany for three years,” said 50-year-old actor Chris Mellon. “There is something particularly wonderful about this country – a healthy cynicism about authority, a fantastic sense of humour and a fundamental sense of social responsibility that exists in the British psyche, related to the struggles of war and the loss of the British Empire.”

Britain be better off outside the EU? 3 Would

■ Our relationship with Europe has always been fraught, but an autonomous Britain was seen as being too small to hold any influence by Margaret George, a 57-year-old Primary School teacher: “We’ve got too much to lose. We may think some of the rules work against us, but being part of Europe gives us credibility, backing and stature that we think we ought to have, but no longer do.” Her allusion to the loss of Empire is echoed among older groups who felt missed opportunities and unchecked growth of EU legislation was the fault of successive governments. “I’m old enough to remember the old Common Market,” says Frank Butler, 63, from Portsmouth. That’s what we signed up for.” John Clements, 73, from Kent, adds: “Harold Wilson wanted to get all the English speaking countries to form a trade bloc, but it got squashed.” While Diana Hampton, 70, from Winchester, claims: “We voted for a common market, not a takeover.” There’s a bias toward the UK pulling out of the EU from the retired. Says Malcolm Simmons, a recently retired project manager for EDF energy: “It costs too much to stay in the EU and we could be missing bigger and better markets.” Kay Nuttal, 60, also wanted out of Europe and vented her fury over coffee in Covent Garden. “They wanted to take away our jury system,” she says, “they’ve gone mad on human rights; they don’t want us to have a say in anything”. Last year the institution of the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize for sustaining the longest period of peace between its nations. “We’ve had over 70 years without a war, that’s remarkable,” says Chris Mellon, 50, who believes it’s about a wider, shared history and sense of community as well as a trade bloc to compete with America, Russia and China. Marcus Swalwell, 54, agrees, and believes we should look to ourselves for a better outcome: “We will always be better off in a team; we just need to be better team players.”

National patriotism varies across the regions. Claire Smith, a journalist for The Scotsman observes that, “you don’t really get that ‘Proud to be British’ thing in Scotland anymore. The Diamond Jubilee and Olympics were not so marked north of the border. It’s seen as a long way away. When you saw boats on the Thames, people said, ‘what’s that got to do with us?’ I know people who didn’t watch the Olympics.” Those considering emigration in their 40s and 50s favoured Europe. Jayne Coy, a B&B proprietor, summed it up: “I like the laid-back attitude of the French and the social culture of the Scandinavian countries, but France wins because it’s warmer!”

Do you think the NHS should continue to be free for everyone, 4regardless of their ability to pay? ■ Since its inception, the NHS has been one of our most-prized institutions. So we expected a staunch defence, particularly as its resources are used more as we grow older. The Office of National Statistics predicts that by 2020, 4.3m over 65s will be living with a long-term illness for 7-9 years at the end of their lives. While most of you agreed that some free health care was achievable, it seems that it’s unsustainable at current rates. People’s experience of the system – particularly those with elderly relatives – was positive. Tamara Barshak, 44, says: “I’m happy to pay tax for a system that helps everybody.” Stephen Message, 50, agrees: “The NHS isn’t trying to return a profit as companies do in America.” Despite this, the NHS is suffering a financial crisis and Richard Lawrence, 48, sees means-testing as an answer. “People over a certain pay bracket should pay into a pot,” he says. The idea that those who can afford to pay, should, isn’t shared among the older “No-one wants to groups. Those in their 60s believe they’ll bring in point out that, theoretically, euthanasia but I think they’ve already paid into a pot they will. There are too called National Insurance many older people” contributions. They see meanstesting as too great a cost to MaRGO administer, but suggest raising SMITH, 83 extra revenue ‘softly’ – such as a ‘consultation charge’ when you see the doctor. When Sheila Gordon, 83, was young, before the creation of the NHS, she recalls being a member of a private society in York, “[They] collected pennies from their members and if someone needed the doctor, the five shillings were paid.” The majority of people think the NHS Could an alternative solution should be free for everyone be a return to benevolence? A bill would be created for the patient who then decides if he or she wishes to contribute. Even if left unpaid, people would know the real cost. Noelene Miffing spent all her working life in the NHS and observes that, “if you consider the service free, you abuse it”. Most people were concerned about ‘health tourism’. “If you haven’t paid in, you should only get a basic level of care,” says Janice Bryden, 59. But health tourism (money spent on treating foreign nationals which hasn’t been recouped) accounted for just £12m of the 2011-12 £109bn NHS budget. That’s 0.01%.

68% | THE POST | 35

Bradley Embleton, 40, Transport supervisor Jason Williams, 40, Branch manager Jon Windsor, 41, Local government officer Jay Mathewson, 42, College funding manager Dave Knight, 43, IT sales manager Orin Solomon, 43, Senior global category manager Mahendra Patel, 43, Musician Tamara Barshak, 44, Musician Vicky Ives, 44, Administrator Colin Mackleworth, 44, Designer Cally Peacock 44, Community mental health worker Jide Salami, 45, Comedian Jackie Garford, 46, Director Philip Creswick, 47, Painter and decorator Pauline Dawkins, 47, Bookkeeper Andrew Ward, 47, Musician Richard Lawrence, 48, Interior designer Marcia, 49, Fitness instructor Cleve McCollin, 49, Chief executive officer Claire Smith, 49, Journalist Gavin French, 50, Transport planning Asheligh Hadj-Mahfoud, 50, Restaurateur Chris Mellon, 50, Actor Stephen Message, 50, Teacher Tracey Thorus, 50, Bookkeeper David Smith, 50, Sales associate Gary Thorus, 50, Development manager Andi Mclean, 51, Administrator Colin Appleby, 52, PR consultant Kim Lennon, 53, Pastoral support worker Janie Woolf, 53, Receptionist Marcus Swalwell, 54, Unknown Jayne Coy, 55, B&B proprietor Richard Lennon, 55, Executive chef Bhavna Dattani, 56, Housewife Margaret George, 57, Primary school teacher David Martin, 58, Musician Patrick Bartley, 59, Retired car worker Janice Bryden, 59, Service manager Peter George, 59, Environmental consultant Pravin Dattani 60, Retired Kay Nuttall, 60, Singer Christine Southey, 62, Retired Tina Fox, 62, Company secretary

Feature / State of the nation

the questions, the people, the answers yes

36 | THE POST |


1. Do you think that Britain is a more caring society than when you were young?

2. Surveys tell us most people in the UK are proud to be British but would you live in a different country if you could?

3. Would Britain be better off outside the EU?

4. Given rising costs and increasing demand, do you think the NHS should continue to be free for everyone?

5. Do you think we no longer live in a racist society?

6. Should Britain consider legalising soft drugs?

7. Do you think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry?

8. Should the government be less focused on the wealth of the nation, and more on its happiness? | THE POST | 37

Frank Butler, 63, Hospitality Wing Kwong Cheung, 63, Scientist Marian Nicholson, 63, Charity director Mei Li Chou, 64, Nurse Pamela Medhurst, 64, Retired Mary Crawley, 65, Freelance translator Noelene Miffing, 65, NHS worker Ken Poore, 65, Retired electrical engineer Peter Shoreland, 65, Retired airline IT worker Malcolm Simmons, 65, Retired project manager Ian Aldridge, 66, Retired Wendy Allen, 67, Retired shop owner Christopher Mantel, 68, Actor and theatre director Henry Heng, 69, Retired Anthony Arthur Davis, 69, Retired Michael Topping, 69, Comedian Vincent McFarlane, 70, Retired Diana Hampton, 70, Nurse David Toomey, 72, Retired car sales manager Herma Gentels, 72, Retired Diane Ravenscroft, 72, Retired editor’s secretary John Clements, 73, Retired security David Duddinglowish, 73, Driver/guide Kew Gardens Mair Griffiths, 73, Retired china restorer Dodie Toomey, 73, Housewife Sheila Windsor, 74, Retired David Farthing, 75, Retired civil engineer Maurice Higham, 75. Retired plumber Jean Pavesi, 76, Retired shorthand typist John Medhurst, 77, Retired Isabella Mitchell, 77, Retired Gloria Warren, 77, Entertainer Betty Gordon, 78, Retired welfare rights adviser Champaklal Kotecha, 78, Retired Rita J, 78, Retired Stella Seeley, 79, Retired Tony Barber, 80, Retired Julie Barnish, 81, Retired PA Maurice Brian Parnaby, 81, Retired colonial police Sheila Ward, 81, Retired actress Margaret Depamelaire, 81, Retired Walter Depamelaire, 81, Retired Lionel Clatworthy, 81, Retired lab technician Mabel Railton, 82, Retired Sheila Gordon, 83, Retired psychotherapist Jack Holden, 83, Welfare assessor Margo Smith, 83, Retired teacher Barbara Gray, 84, Retired shorthand typist Michael Slapak, 84, Surgeon John Spencer, 84, Retired lecturer Rene Mannering, 86, Retired Mabel Harrison, 87, Retired deputy headmistress Irene Vernon, 87, Retired WAF radar op Sally Wing, 89, Retired Joanne Hall, 92, Retired performer Evelyn Hipplewith, 93, Retired

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State of the nation / Feature

you think we no longer live in a racist society? 5 Do

■ A non-racist society will always be an objective that remains elusive. Those who did answer ‘yes’ were comparing it to the past and to other countries. In the responses here, there is little generational bias, but there is a perception of a shift away from the older, ethnically simple lines of a black/white divide. In a multi-cultural society where children mix much better at school and inter-racial relationships are more common, for some, direct verbal and physical abuse has fallen to the point that ‘racist’ is no longer a meaningful label for our country. Claire Smith says: “I actually think people in the UK are extremely tolerant. It’s no longer socially acceptable to be racist.” The subject of immigration can cause racial tension to rise in a way that can appear more socially acceptable. “I think people are still very prejudiced, it’s a human condition. They just move on to different targets,” says Tina Fox, 62. “There’s a sense of panic that we’re losing our own “People in the UK are culture because we’re trying to extremely tolerant. adapt it to suit everyone else,” Being racist is not says Malcolm Simmons, 65. socially acceptable” “Stupid things like not being able to say the word ‘Christmas’ Claire are atrocious. But the other smith, 49 side of the coin is that immigrants contribute by doing good jobs and paying their taxes etc, but we don’t hear about that.” The statistics bear this out. Being a younger, more economically active group than the country as a whole, immigrants to the UK have helped grow GDP by just over 1% – or £16.3bn – a vital The number of respondents who contribution rather than a feel we still live in a racist society drain on tightened resources. Britain compares very well to other countries’ legislation and rhetoric. The UK, and particularly London, was thought to be near the top of the list in acceptance, freedom and equality of opportunity. A personal experience from Christopher Mantel, 68, from South London, warns against any stereotypical self-fulfilling prophecy. “People love to have someone to hate,” he says. “On the other hand, I now walk with a stick and the people that most often stand up for me are teenage black boys.”


Britain consider legalising soft drugs? 6 Should

■ The broadest way to group the respondents to this question were a) those in their 60s and 70s whose response was mostly negative and warned that ‘one thing leads to another’; b) those who had taken drugs (mostly in their 40s and 50s) and who were in favour, believing the criminal element would be eliminated resulting in a better, more controlled quality of substance, and, c) those of all ages but particularly those in their 80s, who agreed to one substance, cannabis, being legalised for medical use. Cally Peacock, 44, pointed out that in recent years the statute book looks very out of date. She says: “Nowadays there are a lot of legal highs available that get around the laws making soft drugs illegal. People don’t know what they are taking. Knowledge is everything and legalising soft drugs would lead to more people knowing what they are getting into.” Just considering altering the law wasn’t enough for musician, David Martin, 58. “People who are using soft drugs, many of which are much less harmful than tobacco or alcohol, are criminalised and there’s a “If tobacco was illegal great deal of tax that can be we probably wouldn’t brought in if they’re properly make it legal, with all manufactured.” But he felt that the harm it does” having a reasoned national debate would be improbable. gavin “Until some kind of critical French, 44 dam bursts, or some crisis hits, or certain older generations of voters die off, then nothing will be done about it.” Our survey group widely agreed that even if Britain doesn’t consider legalising soft drugs, it should still stop criminalising those who are caught with a small amount for their own personal use. The A close call, but most people thought model that exists in Portugal soft drugs should not be legalised where, since 2001, no one has been sent to jail for being found with up to 10 days of personal supply was favoured over countries such as Singapore, where a zero-tolerance policy exists. Gavin French, 50, makes the point that, “if tobacco was illegal now and we were talking about making it legal, then we probably wouldn’t when you look at all the harm it does”. Wendy Allen, 67, tended to agree, saying: “We know what cigarettes and alcohol are going to do to us – cigarettes are going to hurt our lungs and alcohol will destroy our liver. We don’t need anything more to send our brains barmy.”

53% | THE POST | 39

Feature / State of the nation

you think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry? 7 Do

■ For older generations, the concept of marriage seems inextricably linked to two ideologies. The first is the link to religion, with an emphasis on procreation; the second is the sheer weight of tradition that surrounds the marriage ceremony. Despite a general agreement that Civil Partnerships were appropriate, marriage just didn’t ‘feel right’. The briefest comments were perhaps most revealing. From those in their 70s: “I don’t think it’s essential for them to marry”, “Religious texts are clear that it’s for a man and a woman”, “I don’t agree with them having a marriage like I’ve had”. And a simple question from Marian Nicholson, 63: “They already have civil “They can have a partnerships, what more do they need?” blessing in a church, Values learnt from childhood seemed but for me the word instilled and the maintenance of the status marriage means man quo gave comfort. That’s to be expected and woman” given the speed with which homosexuality marian has come to be seen more positively. Chris Mellon suggested the church nicholson, 59 could offer religious marriage. “They can change their title and leave the rest of us with marriage – then some people can say, ‘well, I’m actually religiously married’ – and that might make them feel superior.” The over 80s continued to provide some of the more liberal observations in our survey. Joanne Hall, one of our oldest respondents at 92 and from Newcastle, said: “Yes [they should]. Because love is a wonderful thing and we need more love, and if some people prefer to love their own The number of respondents in favour of same-sex marriage sex, then what’s the harm in that?”


The future is bright

Has Britain lost its bite? The media often portrays the UK in decline, but that wasn’t the message we got from our sample of 100 people. Many are resilient to fears about the future. Those who thought Britain was a less-caring society than when they were young were in their

40s and 50s with a more cynical outlook than those in their 60s and above. Meanwhile, some of the most liberal views on topical issues came from those in their 80s. There were common denominators across all ages. We are all sceptical that racism could ever be truly stamped out for instance, and we widely believe that health tourism places a much greater strain on the NHS than it actually

the government focus less on the nation’s wealth 8andShould more on its happiness? ■ There’s a seductive correlation between wealth and happiness: if we are wealthier, surely we are happier? Both in personal terms: “Without financial security it’s difficult to be happy,” Diana Hampton, 70, and as a nation: “If they could just make us all wealthier, happiness would surely follow, although politicians do try desperately hard to find ways to tax anything and everything that might promote or encourage happiness,” was the frustration of Colin Appleby, 52. “It’s not possible to judge how happy a country is,” says David Duddinglowish, 73. “Circumstances change. How do you know?” The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) tries to do just this every year with its Better Life Index, a subjective personal evaluation of an individual’s health, education, income, personal fulfilment and social conditions. The survey asked people about general happiness, including a sense of enjoyment and pride in accomplishment, as well as negative experiences that caused feelings such as pain, worry or sadness. Australia topped the list with the UK in 10th place behind Sweden and the US. Subjectively, what might make us happier? “We’re creating a society that doesn’t have time to care or make time for family and friends sitting at a dinner table,” says David Smith, 50, from south London. “More affordable housing and free education of a higher standard,” says Tamara Barshak, 44, but also, “more free music, festivals and theatre, which brings people together in a nice space. We can have a higher standard of living without people having to fork out a lot more money.” A final thought from Marian Nicholson, 63: “The world cannot afford to grow year on year. Chocolate is going to be the new currency; we’re not going to be able to make enough.”

does. However, while most recognise that the NHS cannot continue at current levels, older age groups offered more creative solutions to the problem. In seeking a portrait of Britain, we found people from all walks of life engaging with the issues that matter. Most striking, though, was your intrinsic pride for our small nation and our varied successes and idiosyncrasies. ●

43% The percentage of respondents who felt the government should focus more on our happiness. Australia, Sweden, Canada, Norway and Switzerland are the world’s happiest countries

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Feature / Gastro tour

Britain’s great gastro tour Words: Neil McQuillan Illustration: Linda Duong

You don’t have to travel to London for Michelin star food. Join us on a tour of the UK’s top culinary hotspots


he Michelin critics must have returned home a little peckish after their first visit to these shores. In fact, to judge by that 1974 edition of what was conceived as a companion for motoring tourists, they’d plainly felt little inclination to leave their car – a paltry 25 stars (all single) came the UK’s way. Nowadays, take a foodie tour of the UK and you’ll barely be out of second gear before making another stop. The most recent list saw 162 restaurants awarded stars, with the 20 two-star restaurants among them representing a doubling at that level in a decade. We’re now running Spain and Italy surprisingly close. The processes that led to our gastronomically barren mid 20th-century landscape are still debated. Industrialisation and urbanisation, lengthy rationing during and after the World Wars, and even the demise of the aristocracy (making their kitchen staff’s knowledge redundant) have been blamed. It was a long time coming, but we’re getting over this succession of blows. Even if we’re not yet true Michelin rivals to France or Germany, we attract more than our fair share of top chefs from abroad thanks to the diversity of our culinary culture. That’s one characteristic of the scene that we have

42 | THE POST |

Star choice There are 162 Michelin star restaurants in the UK. Here are 15 of our favourites


1 St John Bar & Restaurant 020 7251 0848

2 Hélène Darroze at the Connaught (Hotel) 020 7107 8880


3 Nathan Outlaw 01208 862 737 4 Driftwood (Hotel) 01872 580 644 5 Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 01841 532 093


6 Raby Hunt (Hotel) 01325 374 237


12 Sat Bains 0115 9866 566


13 The Hand & Flowers 01628 482 277


7 Alimentum 01223 413 000


14 Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles (Hotel) 01764 694 267


15 The Crown at Whitebrook (Hotel) 01600 860 254

8 Midsummer House 01223 369 299


9 Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (Hotel) 01844 278 881


10 The Latymer at Pennyhill Park (Hotel) 01276 486 150


11 L’Enclume 015395 36362 1-star



Feature / Gastro tour over our continental neighbours, and it’s not a fad, because openness to foreign flavours laid the groundwork for where we are today. Now we’re proud enough of our chefs and restaurants that Michelin mystique is just about the only scrap left of our inferiority complex around the French.

Their chefs – for so long the Brazilian footballers of the culinary world, assumed to be endowed with innate skill and technique unattainable by natives – are again mere mortals.

After years of aping their sophisticated approach (which some say evolved to mask inferior ingredients), British chefs are proud to be just that, and what we appear to have settled on is simplicity and rejoicing in the ingredient. We have graduated from pork scratchings to pork belly. This is now ‘Modern British’.

Gutsy cuts

A great base of discerning foodies in Cornwall is drawing great chefs like Paul Ainsworth. His sea bass demonstrates how the ingredient is king

‘Modern British’ recalls wise, peasant cooking born of traditions honed down the years. It’s about making an ingredient sing, not submit. What’s fascinating is that we ‘relearnt’ the simple ways with food not through a study of our own traditions, but through those of others. The ‘Modern British’ of today owes a debt to the pared-back Mediterranean lessons of Elizabeth David. Her cookbooks from 1950 onwards chimed with the mindsets of Brits returning from the first wave of package holidays. Even if some would have avoided ‘foreign muck’, others will have been reminded of something elemental by unadorned dishes of Italian, Spanish or Corsican food, where a few ingredients came together to form something much more than the sum of their parts. Consider Fergus Henderson’s ‘nose-to-tail eating’ – his championing of gutsy cuts is the ultimate foregrounding of the ingredient. The 2012 award of a star to Henderson’s St John Hotel (no longer part of the St John group), backing up the 2009 star bestowed on his Clerkenwell restaurant represents the comingof-age of this philosophy. In the UK, this gutsy, embracethe-entire-animal approach (with the assumption that we are no longer at ignorant arm’s length from our ingredients) is evidenced in everything from the ubiquity of pork belly to the current profusion of chicken skin. Also, Henderson’s is the trend for restaurant menus, describing dishes as a simple list of ingredients (pigeon & beetroot, salsify, leeks & watercress) – you can trust us now, it says.

44 | THE POST |

Another chef was a trailblazer for a different, but related kind of simplicity, and by moving away from the kitchens as gastronomic laboratories of London to Padstow in Cornwall, Rick Stein also embraced regionality and seasonality: two factors that are the darlings of UK foodies to this day, and of David back in the 1950s and ’60s. If the modern scene is all about reforging that line in our imaginations that runs from terroir to plate, and about foregrounding and showcasing the inherent qualities of the ingredient, then Stein’s work has been groundbreaking. Or perhaps ‘seabreaking’ – for it was his boat-to-plate approach that seemed electrifyingly fresh and vital at the time. Really, though, it was hunter-gatherer without the mess. Of course, if you order the tasting menu, you don’t pay peasant prices. But there are now four Stein venues at different price points in the little town; at his takeaway, fish & chips starts at £7.25. Just as the UK was open to the flavours of its immigrant community, Stein’s wide-ranging travels have seen international flavours allied to the Cornish fish. The result is quay-fresh ingredients cooked either with classic treatments, or in international recipes.

In most cases, though, the fish is so speak-for-itself fresh it still has life enough to dominate the plate.

It’s possible to make your way through the menu by eating dishes as unadorned and bracing as a sea dip. Stein’s move also showed that top chefs could set up away from London and not suffer a slow death by indifference. The service you receive at Stein’s encapsulates why – casual, friendly staff are charged with evoking a summer holiday feel, a world away from the capital and its hellish kitchens. And so to Cornwall they have come, adding a little bells-and-whistles flair that has drawn Michelin. Nathan Outlaw kept his pair of stars in the 2013 list; Driftwood retained its lone-star status; Paul Ainsworth’s No.6 – a Padstow neighbour to Stein – was awarded one. “Making a splash in London would have cost millions,” he says. “But with Rick Stein here in Cornwall for 20 years there was a good customer base of people wanting fantastic food. As much as people would like to think there’s some sort of rivalry, my goal was to complement what Rick Stein had made up in Padstow, not to compete.”

Star hotels

Fine dining has traditionally come parcelled up with fine hotels

Driftwood They might as well have a sign in the window that says, ‘My other hotel is a Quat’Saisons’, because this is the seaside shack to Blanc’s country house. But that says much about the appeal of a gastro trip to this corner of the country – you feel like you’ve come for a holiday, not a fusty function.

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

The Latymer, Pennyhill Park Hotel

Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles Hotel

When Raymond Blanc called his first restaurant ‘the four seasons’ in 1977 it might have seemed like a slight – at that time, seasonality in many UK kitchens meant the view from the window. Here at the sizedup manor house version, rooms are as impressive as the food.

Many a foodie was delighted to see Michael Wignall’s The Latymer join Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume in gaining two stars in 2013. Each one of sommelier Davide Vaccarini’s wines are available by the glass, so it’s handy that rooms are within walking distance.

Fairlie’s France-based training comes through in rich cooking (think truffle, jus and foie gras) so work it off with a walk in the grounds, or a ‘spoiled walk’ on the golf course; the Espa spa helps you sweat out impending gout. This is the lone two-star holder in Scotland.

There are clued-up foodies lurking everywhere in the UK now, and the expanding constellation of starred restaurants is catering for them. In England they reach north to south from Ainsworth’s No.6 up to the Raby Hunt restaurant near Darlington, where chef James Close – whose lack of training has made his starring a surprise to some – creates menus using local meat and fish that focus on simple flavours.

Pub grub Midway between them, in-the-know gastronomes were delighted by the award of a star to Mark Poynton at the Alimentum restaurant in Cambridge, where he allies slow-cooking methods to serious flair – meaning he may well not stop at one. Poynton joined Alimentum from two-starred Midsummer House, also in Cambridge, and the only two-star restaurant in East Anglia. Another well-loved chef is Michael Wignall at The Latymer in Surrey, who came here having cut his teeth further north – nowadays, it’s not all London-generated. Another who has graduated to the two-star realm is Simon Rogan at L’Enclume in Cumbria, where the surroundings alone are worth the trip with produce grown on six acres of the restaurant’s own land. Rogan’s consultant chef role at The French restaurant in Manchester, one of those honoured in that 1974 guide but starless for decades since, could soon bring the city its first Michelin star in almost 40 years. Thanks to Sat Bains, Nottingham has held two stars since the 2012 list, though many

felt it should have received this status much earlier. But it’s another two-star venue that is most telling about the state of the industry. As well as a raft of new one-star pubs (including Blumenthal’s Hinds Head), the Hand & Flowers in Marlow retained its two stars in the 2013 list – unparalleled for a pub. “We still regard it as a pub,” says chef/owner Tom Kerridge. “In fact, we’re expanding by a third to allow more drinking space. I want to encourage an interest in real ales and gins.” Does he think a pub could attain three stars? “The best chefs in this country cook food that they like. It’s with their heart and soul – all about flavour profile: beef should taste of beef. If you look at the best Michelin restaurants in France, they’re actually simple. They do the perfect butter sauce or the perfect fillet of beef. And the three-star places in Tokyo are all about cleanliness and simplicity. I don’t see any reason why someone couldn’t achieve that in a pub.” Maybe Kerridge will, and while he credits his debt to the French, what could be more British – both ancient and modern – than locally sourced ingredients served within the rough timber-framed walls of the Hand & Flowers? ●

The Hand & Flowers in Marlow is a very British pub but it earned its first Michelin star in 2005 and picked up a second in 2012. Can chef/owner Tom Kerridge go all the way and win a third? | THE POST | 45

Feature / Disappearing world

Photography: Thinkstock

Less than five years left?

India’s famous 360-year-old monument to love, the Taj Mahal, is under threat and could be closed to the public within as little as five years. As many as four million tourists a year make their mark, wearing away the paving stones and leaving behind acid residues from their handprints. The environment has also had a damaging effect on its white marble, leading the government to ban cars from within 500m and close hundreds of coal-burning factories in the vicinity. But none of this can compare to the latest threat; river pollution and a shrinking water table are thought to be responsible for rotting the Taj Mahal’s wooden foundations, causing its impressive minarets to tilt. If drastic action isn’t taken soon, it could be too late to save the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

• Holidays to Agra, India, start from as little as £530 per person for seven nights. Check out for bargains.

Photography: Getty, Thinkstock

Feature / Marseille

48 | THE POST |


where the sun always shines Marseille has smartened up its act. We visit the European Capital of Culture to find out what all the fuss is about Words: James Eastham


Above: The new MuCEM National Museum links a 12th century historic monument with a new building by architect Rudy Ricciotti Right: This bust of Corbusier on the upper levels of his CitĂŠ Radieuse celebrates his attempts to push the boundaries of urban living

he first time I was supposed to travel to Marseille, the flight was booked, the bags packed and I was clutching the airport taxi number. Everything was ready to go when I was suddenly struck down by a violent case of food sickness in the hallway, and had to call the whole thing off. Determined to make amends for that last-minute cancellation, I arranged an identical trip two years later. Thinking nothing of it at the time, I played in my first football match in years just 72 hours before departure. Ten minutes after the game kicked off, I fell awkwardly and broke my arm. After those two painfully aborted trips, you might expect me to see Marseille as a cursed destination. But the opposite is true. The effort required to get there merely heightened my excitement about one day setting foot in the Mediterranean port city and when I finally did, it lived up to expectations. I now | THE POST | 49

Feature / Marseille live in France and have been to Marseille five times. The city’s exciting, unpredictable edge has never lost its appeal.

Capital of Culture Marseille has used its status as one of 2013’s European Capitals of Culture (Kosice of Slovakia being the other) to undergo a facelift in the past couple of years. New buildings have sprung up all over: the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations), which opened in June, is the first standalone national museum located outside Paris; the Villa Mediterranee exhibition centre, an L-shaped structure lying on its side, looks as though it’s ready to launch itself into the sea; and the Tour Panorama arts venue has breathed new life into an old industrial zone.

Yet the real joy of being in Marseille remains the opportunity to stroll around a city that at times feels more African than French.

Above: It was always a world away from the likes of neighbours Nice and Cannes, but the traditional view of Marseille as a port city that houses a melting pot of cultures is brought bang up to date with modern building projects and some intriguing street-art installations 50 | THE POST |

It’s suddenly easy to see why Marseille is considered an outsider in a country that prides itself on order. The messy and spontaneous energy of the cosmopolitan city centre is a world away from more refined Riviera holiday resorts such as Nice and Antibes that lie just a couple of hours away to the east. The spine of the city is the Canebiere, a wide and unremarkable avenue of shops, cafés and fast-food joints that leads to the Vieux Port (Old Port). The heart of Marseille since the Greeks founded the city in 600BC, the Vieux Port remains a jewel of a place; a watery millionaire’s row of towering yachts sitting in a vast basin of sparkling blue water. On Quai des Belges – where the Canebiere meets the Vieux Port – is another of the Capital of Culture additions: towering over you, Sir Norman Foster’s Plafond Miroir (or Ombriere) is a huge mirror on stilts that allows you to peer up at yourself as you pass beneath. The rest of the port – or most of it – is given over to pavement cafés or restaurants that make ideal spots for watching the world go by, and will grant you more change from a €10 note for a couple of morning coffees than you’d get at their Paris equivalents. Head back up the Canebiere a couple of hundred metres, venture right and you’re in the Noailles district. In the criss-cross of streets around the metro is the colourful daily (except Sunday) market where vendors display fruit and vegetables, spices, spice pots and a stunning array of fresh fish – the basis of Marseille’s famous bouillabaisse stew. On one stall along Rue Longue des Capucins I counted no fewer than 21 different types of fish – testament to the richness of the seas around the city. Extend your stay in this part of town by having lunch at Pizzeria du Marche on Place du Marche des Capucins, where 12-inch pizzas served on silver plates hot from the oven start at just €5.

After the lunchtime rush, the perfect place to explore for a couple of hours is Le Panier. Positioned on the north side of the Vieux Port behind the handsome town hall, this once-downtrodden district has been reborn and gentrified as an arts and crafts hub, and is now (to the chagrin of some locals) the setting for Plus belle la vie – an early-evening TV soap opera that’s essentially a French version of Neighbours. In the real world, Le Panier is a beautiful escape from the noise of the Canebiere and the Vieux Port, despite being only a few minutes away. Wandering through its narrow streets you will come across galleries and pottery and artisan shops stocked with soaps, ceramics, olive oil and Pastis – the aniseed-flavoured liqueur that locals find an excuse to dilute with water and sip at all times of the day. Here you’ll also find La Vieille Charite, a quite magnificent 17th century building designed by Pierre Puget, Marseille’s most famous architect. Originally a home for the poor, it is now an arts centre. Marseille’s most emblematic building remains Notre Dame de la Garde, the Neo-Byzantine basilica that looks down across the city from its hillside perch on the south side of Vieux Port. You can reach it by catching the number 60 bus from the Vieux Port, or following the steep, 30-minute walk from the same starting spot. It’s a magnificent structure topped by an 11 metre-high statue of Madonna and Child. But even more breathtaking are those panoramic views across the city.

Further afield If you have time on the weekend, it is worth heading out of the city along the Corniche – the coastal balcony road that became popular in the 19th century and which delivers a view of the beaches nearest Marseille. Roller-bladers whizz past joggers on the path clinging to the rocks, while bare-chested men play volleyball on the courts marked out in the sand.

From the Corniche you can also get a glimpse of the Frioul Islands and Chateau d’If, where the fictional Count of Monte Cristo (from Alexandre Dumas’ famous novel) was imprisoned.

A range of boat trips around the Frioul Islands run regularly from the Vieux Port. Meanwhile, if football is your passion, you should try and time your visit to coincide with an Olympique de Marseille home game. L’OM, as the club is known, remains arguably the most powerful symbol of

Capital of culture what’s still remaining?

There are just a few months to go until Marseille hands over to Umea (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia), but there are still a few chances to join in the party


Check out the national museum’s two inaugural exhibitions – The Gender Bazaar, Masculine/Feminine and Blue and Black, a Mediterranean Dream. They run until the end of the year.


Le Corbusier and Brutalism Corbusier’s artwork presented in architectural surroundings at the new J1 quayside hangar exhibition centre. Runs from 11 October to 14 January.

Marseille and the surrounding region Ulysses Art Trail A contemporary art trail following in the footsteps of Ulysses. Until the end of 2013.

• For all the latest news and to buy your tickets, simply visit the Marseille Capital of Culture’s official site at Above: The MuCEM sparkles at all times of day and night Below: See why Le Corbusier’s Cite Radieuse has been an inspiration to architects since the ’50s

Marseille’s ‘otherness’. The only French club to have won the Champions League – Europe’s most coveted club trophy – L’OM inspires a level of fanaticism and support that is very unusual in France, and which explains why you’ll see locals of all ages wandering around the streets clad in the club’s iconic sky blue and white colours. After watching a match at Stade Velodrome, you can walk just 10 minutes further out of the city along Boulevard Michelet, where you’ll find yet another example of Marseille’s architectural diversity. Here, Le Corbusier’s Cite Radieuse housing unit (known locally as ‘the House of the Mad’) was completed back in 1952 and is a pleasingly simple apartment block that went on to inspire a whole host of imitators in urban design over the next 50 years. With so much attention focused on the city throughout 2013, Marseille will be hoping that its new array of buildings goes on to inspire visitors for the next 50 years. It certainly worked on me. ● • For more on Marseille, including upcoming events, visit the city’s tourist office at | THE POST | 51

Feature / Food

Science o f fo o d Eat and drink your way to better health with our resident chef Hugh M c Givern Sleep tight When you heat milk the lactose changes its chemical structure and tryptophan is released. Add some nutmeg and cinnamon to accelerate the tryptophan, and you’ll get a better night’s sleep.

■ Understand why some ingredients can affect your sense of well-being and discover more about the nutritional value of what you’re eating. There’s more to our recipes than a list of ingredients... there’s science behind why they work.

Citrus egg nog with cinnamon and nutmeg

There are lots of reasons why our sleep patterns get disturbed – not least the strains of today’s busy lifestyles. Hot milk has always been seen as a relaxant. The Bedouins give fresh warm camel’s milk to their children. Attila the Hun was said to enjoy warm yak’s milk and this was for the same reason – to get a good night’s rest. This hot bedtime drink should help with sleep, and will generally help you to relax prior to bedtime. The real secret is to have the hot drink about an hour prior to your normal bedtime to allow the tryptophan time to work its magic. Serves two Preparation time: five minutes Ingredients • 250ml semi-skimmed milk • 100ml double cream • 25g caster sugar • Three egg yolks • One tsp orange zest • Half tsp cinnamon • Fresh nutmeg for the top Method Gently warm the milk, cream, cinnamon and orange zest until just below boiling point. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until white. Pour the milk mix slowly over the egg and whisk vigorously, pour back into the pan and place over a low heat and whisk for another 20-30 seconds. To serve Pour into two mugs, sprinkle with fresh nutmeg, sit back and enjoy.

52 | THE POST |

Haddock satay burger

In Scotland we eat a lot of haddock (it’s tastier than cod). This dish is a healthier alternative to visiting the chip shop. Serves four Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: ten minutes Ingredients • Four x 200g pieces of haddock fillet (skinned) • Two tbsp curry powder mixed with one tspn olive oil • 175g polenta • 50g finely crushed roasted peanuts • Two spring onions, finely chopped • Juice and zest of one lemon • Vegetable oil Method Pat dry the skinned fish, mix curry oil and lemon juice and smear all over the fillets. Rest in the fridge for 20 mins to let flavours infuse. Combine the remaining ingredients (except the vegetable oil) in a food processor until just combined. Press each piece of fish into the mix and cover all over. Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil, fry the fish until golden then flip over. The fish should cook in five minutes. To Serve An avocado diced with a little chopped tomato, garlic and olive oil seasoned with chilli will really complement this dish. Alternatively Replace the fish with a turkey escalope or a de-boned leg of chicken. Follow the recipe as far as the cooking, and finish in a hot oven for ten mins.

Fish, especially haddock, is a great source of protein and vitamins. It contains Omega 3, selenium and traces of B12 – these can help with memory and concentration, and generally keep us all a bit happy.

Curry powder is high in turmeric, which may help with Alzheimer’s. It detoxifies the liver and helps speed up healing. Roasted peanuts contain magnesium to reduce insomnia and vitamin B3, which repairs your body’s DNA.

Lemon adds zing to the dish. Vitamin C is good for clearer skin and vitamin B5 helps with memory. Avocado has lots of magnesium to reduce stress. Garlic is an aide to heart function. Chillies contain more vitamin C than oranges. | THE POST | 53

Feature / Technology

A brief history of Twitter Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station

Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*

How a simple social networking tool took over the world (in 140 characters or less) Words: Dave Woods I’m worth $8 billion Lord Sugar vs Donald and you’re worth Trump on Twitter is peanuts...without like a 50ft high Mr You only have 1.9m my show nobody Burns and a 50ft high followers…. How would even know Del Boy fighting in the comes I have 2.5m who you are middle of Tokyo and you have six times #rivetted more population??

54 | THE POST |

So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn


Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high

Toasting… Done Four more years

s an introduction to the world, “just setting up my twttr” is so banal it’s brilliant. If Jack Dorsey [@jack], co-founder of Twitter, could have his first tweet back again, maybe he’d do it differently – then again, maybe not. At the last count (July 2013) Twitter had over 200 million active users worldwide, generating over 400 million tweets a day, giving the company a market valuation in the region of $10.5bn. If all great things come from simple ideas, Twitter’s was a stroke of genius. Twitter is simply a means of instantly communicating with others around the world, but with one caveat – whatever you want to say has to be done in 140 characters or less. The character limit was imposed because Twitter was initially set up to follow the SMS text protocol, a connection that’s long been defunct. It’s now come to define the twitter generation. Since Dorsey’s first tweet on 21 March 2006, the social networking tool has been responsible for breaking news, aiding revolutions, saving lives and keeping big corporations in check. It’s amazing what you can do with a few simple lines of text.

Hey #Starbucks ‘PAY YOUR ******* TAX

“Did you only join Twitter to promote your shows??” < No, no, no. I joined so you & I could be friends

At 3.25am on Monday May 2 2011, news of Osama Bin Laden’s death was leaked on Twitter by Keith Urbahn [@keithurbahn], the former chief-of-staff for Donald Rumsfeld. “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.” As he tweeted this, Barack Obama was still drafting his speech and it would be a full hour before the formal announcement was made. Urbahn wasn’t the first to correctly speculate about what the Presidential address was going to be – about 38 minutes before Urbahn tweeted, rumours of the address had leaked onto Twitter – but it was his tweet that carried the authority for the news to spread. And spread it did. According to blogsite SocialFlow, “The rate at which Keith’s message spread was staggering. Within a minute, more than 80 people had already reposted the message, including the NY Times reporter Brian Stelter [@brianstelter]”. Once Stelter – who at the time had over 50,000 followers – retweeted the news, it spread like wildfire with over 14.8 million tweets recorded between the first rumours of the presidential address at 2.46am and the official announcement at 4.30am.

Real-time information People who don’t use Twitter might still see it as a means of broadcasting the minutiae of modern life. For power users though, it’s a tool that creates a highly personalised feed of information that | THE POST | 55

Photography: Getty, Photoshot, iStock

Breaking news

Feature / Technology

15 to follow Follow these for a feed packed with the best info from the top Twitterers 1. Alan Sugar @Lord_Sugar 2. Brian Cox @ProfBrianCox 3. Caitlin Moran @caitlinmoran 4. Gary Lineker @GaryLineker 5. India Knight @indiaknight 6. Krishnan Guru-Murthy @krishgm 7. Mary Portas @maryportas 8. Nigella Lawson @Nigella_Lawson 9. Piers Morgan @piersmorgan 10. Ricky Gervais @rickygervais 11. Robert Peston @Peston 12. Samira Ahmed @SamiraAhmedUK 13. Sarah Brown @SarahBrownUK 14. Stephen Fry @stephenfry 15. Victoria Coren @VictoriaCoren Remember to follow your favourite mag @ThePostMag

enables them to shape – and alter – how news is delivered. During the Arab Spring uprisings, Twitter was seen as critical in sharing information that might otherwise have been suppressed by the authorities. While it might be hard to put forward a case that Twitter was a cause of the revolutions, nobody can deny its impact. A study conducted by the University of Washington entitled ‘Opening Closed Regimes’ showed how Twitter helped shape political debate in the Arab Spring and spread democratic ideas across international borders. It was also noted that “spikes in online revolutionary conversations often preceded major events on the ground”. In the week before Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011, tweets about political change in Egypt grew from 2,300 a day to over 230,000 a day.

In the US, Twitter also played its part during Hurricane Sandy, with over 20 million storm-related tweets, some from the official feed of the Fire Department of New York [@FDNY].

This was run by a single woman, Emily Rahimi, who sifted through a massive number of tweets to offer reassurance, divulge essential information, and dispatch emergency services to people who couldn’t get through to a swamped 911 service.

Celebrity Big Brother But don’t worry; it’s not all revolution and real-time news. It’s little surprise that the most followed user in the world is Justin Bieber [@justinbieber] with over 44m followers, closely shadowed by Lady Gaga [@ladygaga] and Katy Perry [@katyperry] with 40m each. With these numbers you’re more likely to win the Lottery than chat directly to your favourite celeb but for many, the illusion is enough. But as a window into celebrity life, it’s simply fascinating. Where else could you see a real-time image of what actor Simon Pegg [@simonpegg] has just eaten for breakfast (“Digest in peace. Steak and eggs…”), receive a put-down from one of the world’s greatest comedians (“Did you only join Twitter to promote your shows??” < “No, no, no. I joined so you & I could be friends” – Ricky Gervais [@rickygervais]) or have your grammar corrected by Piers Morgan [@piersmorgan] (“Your an opinionated dumbass”/“it’s ‘you’re’”)? Even if you spend your whole time on Twitter without being acknowledged by the stars you adore, Twitter gives you a real (sometimes too real) glimpse at celeb personalities free from the usual ring-of-fire PR minders. What wasn’t there to like about Sir Alan Sugar’s [@Lord_ Sugar] drawn-out spat with US Apprentice rival Donald Trump [@ realDonaldTrump]? Escalating

56 | THE POST |

from a seemingly random conversation about wind farms, the tweets turned ugly with Trump making veiled threats about owning the Apprentice (possibly delivering the ultimate ‘you’re fired!’ to Sugar himself ) while Sugar questioned Trump’s finances. As the action turned more schoolyard – Sugar boasted about the number of followers he had (“you only have 1.9m followers… how comes I have 2.5m and you have six times more population?”) – it attracted a number of celebrity followers. “Lord Sugar vs Donald Trump on Twitter is like a 50ft high Mr Burns and a 50ft high Del Boy fighting in the middle of Tokyo #rivetted.” [Caitlin Moran – @caitlinmoran].

Watch what you tweet But, if Twitter is helping to usher in a new unexpurgated form of communication, traditional laws are on hand to drag it back. Several high-profile cases have shown that you have to be careful what you tweet no matter how few followers you have. In what’s become known as the Twitter Joke Trial, Paul Chambers [@pauljchambers] used Twitter to send a “public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”. In January 2010, seeing that the airport he was flying from was struggling with bad weather, Chambers tweeted: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” A slightly inappropriate joke perhaps, but a joke nonetheless. Unfortunately for Chambers, it led to him being detained at his office by an anti-terror squad and he subsequently lost his job. A number of celebrities – including one of Twitter’s most prolific users Stephen Fry [@stephenfry] – backed his cause and his conviction was quashed at the third appeal.

Twitter played a key role in Obama’s election. His tweet, “Four more years”, became the most popular ever, re-tweeted by over 795,000 Twitter users

First time?

It’s easier than you think to get started


Go to, sign up with your name, email address and password, then choose a username (the name your tweets will be posted under) and you’ll be taken to the Twitter Teacher.

David Eun [@Eunner] tweeted, “most everyone okay” along with this photo from Asiana flight 241 while TV networks were trying to verify if anyone had survived

In another high-profile case earlier this year, Sally Bercow was found guilty of libel after falsely linking Lord McAlpine to child abuse allegations with the seemingly innocuous tweet: “Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*”.

In what may very well go down as a landmark case, the presiding judge, Lord Tugendhat, ruled that use of the words “innocent face” was ironic and found Bercow far from innocent.

Cases like this have dismayed many, with Patrick Strudwick [@PatrickStrud], a Guardian columnist, writing: “Sally Bercow may have agreed to pay a settlement to Lord McAlpine, but the High Court has ensured the British tweeting public will be paying in fun, irony and innuendo forever.” What’s beyond doubt is that what you tweet, no matter how harmless you think it is, could feasibly land you behind bars.

The future If human interaction is currently Twitter’s bedrock, the future could get weirder. The existence of a toaster [@mytoaster] that tweets when it’s in progress (“Toasting”) and done (“Done Toasting”) and a nappy (TweetPee from Huggies) that tweets when your baby wets itself might seem like a satirical glimpse into a dystopian future, but it’s easy to see a world where household appliances tweet you (“hi, this is your fridge, just to let you know the temperature is over ten degrees”) and there are some obvious real-life examples where tweeting objects could save lives – issuing flood warnings for example. Twitter itself is typically bullish; the company’s Chief Executive, Dick Costolo [@dickc], says Twitter wants to reach “every person on the planet”. That’s something of a hyperbolic statement – eerily redolent of Bill Gates’ [@BillGates] dream of “a computer on every desk and in every home” – but Twitter is certainly enjoying its time in the limelight. With its huge base, celebrity endorsement and a vision that’s constantly being tweaked by its users rather than Twitter itself, the future could well become defined in 140 characters. Or less. ●


The Twitter Teacher is a tutorial that aims to get you started in less than 60 seconds. It teaches you what a tweet is and how to start following people, and enables you to upload a photo and add a short bio about yourself.


In the main Twitter interface, tweets from everyone you follow show up in the main panel. You can reply to these or compose a new tweet. Clicking the icons in the top bar enable you to search (Connect) and see what’s trending (Discover).


There’s no set way to use Twitter, so just experiment and learn as you go along. Almost half of Twitter’s users simply watch and don’t tweet; so don’t feel compelled to write your own if you don’t want to. However, it’s much better to get involved. Here are a few quick tips to help you... • Tweets can only contain 140 characters or less, so practise at being concise • Link to the internet – type or copy the URL into your tweet • Use a URL shrinker like to save space • Hashtags are used to group tweets. Use them and you’ll attract more followers that like the same things. Hashtags can include more than one word, but must contain no spaces. #ThePost • Don’t follow too many people. You’ll have to wade through too many tweets in your timeline • You can request your Twitter archive in ‘Settings’. This emails you a transcript of every tweet you’ve ever sent, a fascinating virtual diary of your cyber-life

#140novel You can do a lot more with 140 characters than you think, as proved by The Guardian’s Twitter novel challenge. Twenty-one authors – from Ian Rankin to Jeffrey Archer – submitted stories. Rankin was judged the winner. #140novel is still going with people submitting entries on Twitter. Why not write your own? Ian Rankin [@beathhigh] I opened the door to our flat and you were standing there, cleaver raised. Somehow you’d found out about the photos. My jaw hit the floor.

Jeffrey Archer [@Jeffrey_Archer] “It’s a miracle he survived,” said the doctor. “It was God’s will,” said Mrs Schicklgruber. “What will you call him?” “Adolf,” she replied.

David Lodge [not on Twitter] “Your money or your life!” “I’m sorry, my dear, but you know it would kill me to lose my money,” said the partially deaf miser to his wife. | THE POST | 57


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Telephone: 01737 457 890 Or email: 58 | THE POST |


CROSBY BEACH On the coastline north of Liverpool, Crosby Beach is the permanent home of Antony Gormley’s award-winning ‘Another Place’ exhibition

A ro u n d t h e U K 6 0 T h e at r e D I G E S T 6 2 C I NE M A 6 3 48hrs in Liverpool 64 h is t o r ic g e taway s 6 8 Ro o m w i t h a v i e w 6 9 F ly fis h i n g 7 0 TA K E A H I K E 7 2 O n c e i n a lif e t im e 7 6 T o p 5 M e d sig h t s 7 8

Photography: Getty

When & where 79 | THE POST | 59

Outside / Around the UK

What’s on

THINGS TO DO over the next couple of months




1 Restaurant Festival, London, 1-15 October

2 The Enchanted Forest, Perthshire, 4-27 October

3 Richard II, Stratford October 10 – November 16

Events all over London take in over 800 restaurants in the first two weeks of October, offering special menus and activities. You can also enjoy street food, music, poetry and even saki and sushi masterclasses.

Scotland’s award-winning sound and light experience is set in the forest at Faskally Wood near Pitlochry. Visitors are guided around the forest where they’re treated to choreographed shows that use the trees as a backdrop.

At Stratford, David Tenant treads the boards as Richard II. The 13 Nov showing will be part of ‘Live from StratfordUpon-Avon’ and screened in cinemas before it moves to the Barbican. Check for dates and your nearest screening online.

60 | THE POST |

4 2013 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, London, 18 October – 23 March Professional and amateur photographers present their snaps at the National History Museum. The impressive results celebrate the brilliance and fragility of the world in which we live.

Photography: Douglas Seifert



8 don’t miss... Felix Dennis: The Cut-Throat Tour Until 17 October

The publishing magnate has spent the last ten years making his mark as a poet to much acclaim. There’s still time to catch his tour with stops all over England.

What I Am


Success chased notoriety to bed And what I am was born. They never wed. Half-finished, asymmetric and unsure, I bent the gilded bars to form a door, Then stepped, a naked stranger, into life And seizing Fortune, took her straight to wife. Remembering the cage, I sought its door And stripped it of its gilt – who would be poor When riches can be whittled with a knife? I scarcely noticed I had lost my wife. Straightaway, I lured a Muse to warm my bed – And so the circle closed. We never wed.


5 Leeds Castle Bonfire Night, Maidstone, 9-10 November

6 Blues Festival, Tenby, 8-10 November

7 The Nutcracker on Ice, Cardiff, 8–17 November

8 Xmas Market, Birmingham 14 November – 22 December

It comes round every year, but see it at Leeds Castle and you won’t be disappointed. The two-day event takes place on the Cedar Lawn and the action starts in the afternoon. You should book tickets early to avoid disappointment.

A dedicated group of Blues enthusiasts has grown this annual event into a full-blown and vibrant festival. Local Blues bands and performers are joined by a guest American to create some magic on the Pembrokeshire coast.

The Millennium Centre hosts this ice sensation improbably starring ITV’s Dancing on Ice duo Keith Chegwin and Olga Sharutenko. They support a cast of 26 Olympic, world, European and national championship skaters.

Christmas comes early in Birmingham where an authentic Frankfurt market sets up shop in the city centre. Check out the toys, jewellery and craft goods jostling for space among the pretzels and mulled wine. | THE POST | 61

Inside / Theatre digest

When super powers collide

Book your tickets for the shows recommended by the UK’s most trusted theatre critics

■ Reviewing is a subjective art. But when the stars align and a production is given almost universal praise, you can be pretty sure you’re in for something special. Such is the case with Lucy Kirkwood’s enthralling Chimerica, which premiered at the Almeida theatre in May. From there it’s made a successful transition to the Harold Pinter theatre, with ratings intact. Six years in the making, the play begins in 1989 when a young journalist covering the Tiananmen Square protest gets that shot of the man in front of the tanks. From there, the play switches to modern-day America and China, and deals with the simmering tensions between the two world superpowers.

What the critics said

“It raises weighty issues”, said Paul Taylor in The Independent, “but is also a gripping theatrical thriller that holds the audience enthralled for almost three hours; a touching love story; and a cracking newspaper comedy in the great tradition of The Front Page.” He concluded that it’s a “strong contender for play of the year”. Caroline McGinn [Time Out) agreed, writing: “This is the play of the year so far, and it marks Kirkwood’s graduation from exciting young talent to major writer.” Search hard enough and you’ll find a few niggles from some of the critics. The FT’s Sarah Hemming said: “There are a few themes too many and some points elbow their way in awkwardly but this is a dazzling, thoughtful, wonderfully ambitious drama that, in a world saturated with imagery, considers the truths behind one picture.” Chimerica is on a strictly limited run at the Harold Pinter Theatre – until 19 October – and, as Sarah Crompton said 62 | THE POST |

Chimerica Harold Pinter Theatre, London Until 19 October

Crime and Punishment Liverpool Playhouse Until 19 October Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh 22 October – 9 November

1984 Touring (Oxford, Salisbury, London, Liverpool, Cardiff and Leeds) Until 16 November The critics Paul Taylor, The Independent Caroline McGinn, Time Out Sarah Hemming, Financial Times David Pollock, The Independent Mark Brown, The Telegraph Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Beg, borrow or steal a ticket for the last performances of Chimerica, play of the year for many critics

in The Telegraph: “Catch it while you can – because your children will probably be studying it in 20 years’ time.”

Also on…

It’s a brave company that tries to stage Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. But, as David Pollock in The Independent wrote, Citizens Theatre has pulled it off. “Of course the urge might be to discuss the potentially unstageable nature of Dostoyevsky’s five-hundred page ‘whydunit’ meditation on the causes of murder,” said Pollock. “But the truth is that writer Chris Hannan and director Dominic Hill… make it look easy.” Mark Brown [The Telegraph] agreed and singled out one of the cast for its success. “The narrative hinges on the character of Raskolnikov himself, and Northern Irish actor Adam Best renders him with an extraordinary combination of muscular rage, sincere compassion and psychological crisis.” Finally, is there a better time to be touring with 1984? George Orwell’s tale of perpetual war and government surveillance seems more apt today than ever. As Lyn Gardner said in her five-star review in The Guardian: “The beauty of this Headlong production is that, in showing us the future, it makes us question the present. We leave the theatre less complacent about our own freedoms; less likely to swallow the lies of those who hold power.”

Cinema / Outside A welcome return to form for Woody Allen in his new film Blue Jasmine

white – rhythm section and founding the classic soul sound of Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and beyond. The fascinating documentary Muscle Shoals is sold on testimonies and colourful anecdotes from Franklin, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards about the voodoo-like influence of the ‘singing’ Tennessee River, and is powered by the sinuous music that flows through the film. But what lingers longer are Hall’s own efforts to rise above his demons by creating a base, identity and impromptu family forged by Tennessee mud, sweat and tears.

Cultural challenges

Where the heart is

Our round-up of the big-screen films you might not have heard of, but definitely shouldn’t miss Leigh Singer

Blue Jasmine directed by Woody Allen (out now) Muscle Shoals directed by Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier (25 Oct) Like Father, Like Son directed by Hirokazu Koreeda (18 Oct) The Selfish Giant directed by Clio Barnard (25 Oct)

■ “Home,” wrote Robert Frost, “is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Try explaining that to mismatched, adopted sisters Ginger (Sally Hawkins) and Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, when the latter – a New York socialite – crosses the US to crash with her blue-collar sibling in San Francisco to start over after her crooked husband Hal (Alec Baldwin) has left her broke. A dark tragicomedy, Allen’s latest is an echo of A Streetcar Named Desire, with an award-worthy Blanchett. Flitting between dual-time frames of Jasmine pre- and post-crisis, it’s a portrait of a self-deluding, self-medicating woman who is isolated by her own volatile vulnerability. Allen suggests Jasmine can’t feel at home anywhere because she’s never at peace with herself. Jasmine’s trials would be chicken feed to Rick Hall, whose personal tragedies seem excessive by anyone’s standards. This makes Hall’s journey from poverty to international recording powerhouse even more inspiring, his FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, assembling the funkiest – all

Bloodline is the subject of a new film from Japanese master Hirokazu Koreeda, who has been building an impressive CV (Nobody Knows, I Wish) of domestic dramas that gently probe cultural preconceptions. Like Father, Like Son transforms soap opera into a profound koan: two sons, one from a carefree working-class family, one from a stiff, traditional white-collar couple, switched at birth. Koreeda critiques tradition, interrogating nature-vs-nurture to a devastating conclusion. A Cannes prize winner, it is one of 2013’s best films. Children largely retain their innocence in Koreeda’s film. But one of the many tragedies of acclaimed new British drama The Selfish Giant is how grinding poverty erodes childhoods, families and communities. Director Clio Barnard follows her daring feature debut The Arbor with more traditional stylings but equally potent results. The eponymous Oscar Wilde fairytale, stripped of its overt religious parable, is repurposed just like the scrap metal findings of teenage Bradford scavengers Arbor and Swifty. It’s a bleak tale of a pitiless environment – all slate-grey skies, abandoned appliances and encroached public spaces that can only end badly. Yet Barnard’s artistry obliquely offers unexpected glimpses of mercy and transformation. Broken homes, for sure, but in amongst the rubble just maybe the foundations of redemption. • Leigh Singer is a freelance film journalist, filmmaker and screenwriter | THE POST | 63

Outside / 48 hours in...

Capital of pop

Liverpool is a city rich with culture and history. Chris Mugan takes you on a whistle-stop tour of its best bits

■ While still proud of their city’s heritage, Scousers are nowadays more keen to celebrate the present in style.

some lively cafés. End up at the Walker Gallery, one of the UK’s most sumptuous provincial collections.


Evening It’s time to unwind, and Bold Street offers plenty of options. Open both day and night, LEAF has many guises; from an intriguing tea shop offering countless varieties of loose leaf tea to its welcoming café with homemade treats, not to mention a tasteful bar. You can peruse the selections on the Spotify jukebox, or why not keep an eye out for an open-mic night.

Morning Liverpool’s waterfront is testament to the city’s glory days and recent revitalisation. Start at the sleek Museum of Liverpool to learn about its heritage from locos to liver birds, then board a river boat to appreciate the impressive skyline. Afternoon Back on dry land, it’s time for some art. Take in an innovative exhibition at Albert Dock’s Tate Liverpool before heading into the buzzing Ropewalks district, home to the cutting-edge Fact multimedia arts centre and

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Night Visit a Manhattan-style speakeasy. 81Ltd is a cool cocktail bar in a secret location (its address and offers are at

Photography: Getty, ThinkStock



5 Metropolitan Cathedral This RC place of worship is a stunning creation of concrete and stained glass, with an enormous crypt.

1 Mathew Street The site of the original Cavern Club remains at the bustling heart of ‘Beatlemania’.

6 Hope Street An elegant parade of Georgian properties showing a more genteel side to Liverpool’s boom times and which remains – along with the Philharmonic Hall – at the heart of its culture.

2 Bluecoat Chambers Originally a boarding school for orphans, this elegantly proportioned structure now houses an arts centre.

7 Liverpool Cathedral An impressive neo-Gothic structure; the Anglican church boasts grand views from its imposing 330ft tower.

3 St George’s Hall One of the UK’s best Greek Revival buildings with exquisite tiled floors.

8 St James Gardens Take the foot tunnel to find this hidden urban oasis amid the tombstones – a perfect place to unwind after a hard slog.

4 Central Library Newly restored, this bookworm’s paradise deftly ST




















Liverpool Lime Street








Liverpool Central RE




Salthouse Dock


















Chavasse Park


























200m | THE POST | 65

Map: Jason Pickersgill









Night Home to Liverpool’s creative mavericks, The Kazimier art centre is a place where anything can happen. Grab a spot in its magical urban garden to watch free performances, or book a ticket for one of the many gigs and eclectic club nights.



Afternoon No one knows why an eccentric 19th century philanthropist commissioned a network of underground burrows, but donning a hard hat for a tour of the (Joseph) Williamson Tunnels is totally unique. Work is ongoing on these recently reopened structures, and already there is much to baffle and amaze.



Morning From The Cavern Club – reconstructed from the original – to the informative Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles’ heritage is at the fore. Enjoy an intimate experience with a tour of Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road – the National Trust-restored childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney respectively.

Evening Any night but Monday is perfect for a pub tour, where you can meet Liverpudlians in their natural environment. Despite what you might think, it’s not all crusty dives. In fact, the Philharmonic Dining Rooms is so dazzling it’s like stepping into a gentleman’s club. Close by, Ye Cracke boasts Beatles connections, though remains a legendary boozer in its own right.




Left: The Museum of Liverpool at Pier Head opened in 2011 and tells the story of the city’s evolution. Above: Why not appreciate the UNESCO World Heritage waterfront from a ferry across the Mersey? It’s the done thing. Below: Beatles fans should head to the Albert Dock, the evocative home of The Beatles Story

mixes venerable grandeur with bright modernism.

A trio of imposing structures dominate the waterfront – the Cunard, Port of Liverpool and the Royal Liver Building. Keep an eye open for the iconic Liver birds on the latter – to many it’s the true identity of Liverpool.

Outside / 48 hours in... Liverpool

FACTFILE Where to stay

Budget Hatters Hostel Liverpool 0151 709 5570 With a handy city-centre location this hostel is cheap, cheerful and not at all shabby. Depending on your budget, there’s a choice of dorms and en suites, with free wi-fi in communal areas. Mid-range Adagio Aparthotel 0871 702 9469 Occupying a former John Lewis store, this complex of stylish self-catering apartments offers a more flexible stay and boasts original features – such as the naked statue over the entrance, known locally as Dickie Lewis.

Getting around

Further afield

■ Aside from the iconic ferry, Liverpool is a great destination to explore on foot, with many sights packed around its compact centre. To reach districts further out and beyond, the city is well served by local Merseyrail trains and plenty of buses operating from the Liverpool One and Queen Square terminals. Group tickets and day savers make these a cost-effective way to get around.

Southport Get a taste of the traditional British seaside at this resort town with its miles of sandy beaches. Stretch your legs on the country’s second longest pier to chance your arm on the pre-decimal penny arcade. Hire a bike to explore the unspoilt coastline, or play some of the UK’s finest links golf courses.

Above: Grade II-listed Southport pier – the UK’s second longest – is a trip back in time. Below: Eat out in style at Wilkinson’s Fraiche, with a six-course menu that uses only the very best local produce. The views aren’t to be sniffed at, either

Luxury Hard Days Night Hotel 0151 236 1964 You can guess the theme here, with the Lennon Suite featuring its own white piano. Beyond that, this boutique residence offers the character of a Grade II-listed building with high-end facilities, including Sky TV and super-comfy Hypnos beds.

Dream Also getting the destination art bug is former industrial powerhouse St Helens. Now you can admire its mammoth 20m sculpture of a young girl’s head by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Built on the summit of a former coal mine, you can also enjoy views across to Wales and Snowdonia.

Where to eat ■ One of the classiest restaurants in the north west is over the river: Marc Wilkinson’s Restaurant Fraiche brings Michelin-style panache to Oxton on The Wirral. If you can’t bag one of its five tables, take the lift to Panoramic 34 where the food holds it own against the view. For a funkier vibe, relax amid the soft lighting and crushed velvet of Puschka, a hidden gem in the Georgian Quarter with an emphasis on local ingredients. Try zingy Mexican street food at Lucha Libre or stone-baked pizzas at The Quarter that got a thumbs up from Yoko Ono. There is also pasta, tumblers of wine, plus an on-site deli. Mello Mello offers veggie nosh that’s a cut above the usual nut roast. Toothsome Cakes proves vegans can be naughty and nice to animals. Bright and airy, Mr Chilli offers the finest Sichuan cuisine in the area, with authentic heat to boot. 66 | THE POST |

Another Place Just four miles from Liverpool’s centre (accessible by train or bus) on a 3km stretch of Crosby shoreline lies Antony Gormley’s stunning artwork, Another Place, featuring 100 life-size, cast-iron figures staring out to sea. It makes for a quite mesmerising sight, especially at high tide. Originally only a temporary art installation, Gormley’s work has found its permanent home here.




Outside / Top five

4. Budapest

2. Barcelona

More than 2,000 years of history make Barcelona one of Europe’s most cultured cities. The Gothic Quarter gives you a glimpse of life from Roman and medieval times, while the Art Nouveau work of Antoni Gaudi is all over, especially his iconic church. If the sun gets too hot, dive into one of the city’s many museums, or take a breather on Barcelona beach – voted best city beach. DON’T MISS Park Guell, Gaudi’s church, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Palau de la Música Catalana, plus 12 historic parks.

5. Marrakesh

Grab yourself a long weekend away and discover some of Europe’s most historic cities

1. Bath

3. Prague

You don’t need to board a plane to uncover the history that lurks around every corner in Bath. The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which gives you a clue how special it is. From the Romans – who prized it for its warm springs – to the Georgians – who made it fashionable and filled it with fine architecture – many have left an indelible mark on this beautiful city. Even Jane Austen saw fit to set Northanger Abbey and Persuasion here. And, with all the top attractions so close together, it couldn’t be easier to explore the city by foot.

Prague has influenced the evolution of central European architecture. In the 1300s, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV began construction here. It expanded in the 14th and 15th centuries with Gothic architecture. Thanks to the fact that Prague was spared widescale urban development this still pervades today.

DON’T MISS the Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge. When you fancy a change of pace, the more bohemian side of Walcot Street makes a welcome break from the tourist trail.

DON’T MISS Prague Castle (the largest in Europe), Charles Bridge, St Vitus Cathedral, and the Old Town’s Gothic houses.

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DON’T MISS the Royal Palace, Gellert Hill, where you’ll find some of the best views, Buda Castle Hill and Chain Bridge.

What makes Marrakesh so appealing is its Moorish history, lively souks and the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, its most famous symbol. There are a couple of fascinating museums, but the Musée de Marrakech is architecturally the most impressive, particularly its enormous chandelier. DON’T MISS the Kasbah with a garden of 16th century tombs. El Badi Palace – now stripped bare – is still worth a visit.

Photography: Thinkstock

Historic getaways

Though only united into a single city in 1873, Budapest has been the victim of wars, uprisings and invasions since Roman times. Traces of that history still exist in the underground Roman museum in Obuda and the Mosaics of Hercules Villa. On the other side of the river in Buda, the city’s castle inspired much of the Gothic architecture that remains today.

Room with a view / Outside

Junior suite, Park Plaza County Hall When it’s the view that matters most you’ll have to go a long way to beat this offering at London’s Park Plaza Hotel

Set on the South Bank within walking distance of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, London’s Park Plaza County Hall boasts dazzling views and prices that won’t take your breath away. This view from the junior suite shows the London Eye in all its glory. Prices start at £175 per night.

• We want to see the views from rooms you’ve stayed in. Send us a pic like the one above, with details about the hotel, and if we feature your photo in our next issue you’ll win £100. Send your photos to us at | THE POST | 69

Outside / Try something new

Photography: Getty

Fly fishing

and became totally besotted. When I was doing As Time Goes By with Judi Dench, every series was fitted around my fishing.

Nature’s cauldron

Probably the biggest thing about fly fishing is that it’s mentally absorbing. Nothing may happen for a long while – whether you’re fishing on a lake, reservoir or river, be it for trout or salmon – but when it happens, there’s a huge adrenaline rush. When nothing is happening, you’re out in the open and on any lake there are many other things to watch – ducks, all sorts of birdlife. On a river you will frequently see a kingfisher; most people never see a kingfisher in their lives. I go to Scotland a lot and see otters and osprey. Your mind is at peace; you’re totally absorbed and concentrating. You’ll quickly forget that the roof is leaking at the office, or about mortgage payments, or work problems – it’s the most wonderful get-away-from-it-all activity. GEOFFERY The casting is fascinating. I had lessons with this PALMER guy who could crouch under bushes with trees above him, not get the line tangled and still land it on a saucer. The skill in casting really well – and the joy of watching it – is an extraordinary thing in itself. And ■ My father didn’t know much about fishing, but when you’re casting well you feel really good about my first experience of it was two years before the yourself. I’ve got lots of equipment, but you don’t outbreak of the Second World War. We used to go need it. The flies in the tackle shop are there to up to Norfolk for holidays; the old man did a bit attract the fishermen, not the fish. Boys’ toys. If you of research, got a couple of cheap rods and we have a guy who is very clever at casting, he’ll be able went down to a little dyke beside one of the Broads to cast with a broom handle. You don’t have to spend and sat there hoping to catch roach and dace. My a fortune to start. older brother was bored within minutes, but I was The appeal for me is that, while it’s not entirely hooked. I thought it was wonderful. We did it for atavistic, you are still hunting. You’re doing what two summers, but then came the war. My parents had given me one of the great fishing mankind did thousands of years ago to get food, and this is a very basic part of it that’s deep down inside books – Going Fishing by a guy called Negley Farson. all of us. The first fish I caught was a huge triumph, It was illustrated with lovely woodcuts, and I always and it still is. I don’t take every fish I catch, but I get dreamt of doing ‘posh’ fishing, fly fishing – but a huge kick from it. We might cook it or smoke it, thought that only earls and dukes did that. I must but I caught it. I brought food back to the cave. have mentioned this posh fishing to my wife, and The sophisticates who’ve been doing it for ages she kept it in the back of her mind because some will say it isn’t important if they don’t catch. Of 45 or 50 years later, when I was 60, she thought I course it’s bloody important, but it’s about being needed a hobby at a time when I was taking every there. Catching a fish is a bonus. If you’re on a river, job that was offered – as actors do – and was in you can say, ‘there’s an osprey’, danger of burnout. and that’s a privilege. Or, We have a great mate who GETTING STARTED ‘there’s an otter’. You might she got in touch with, and he even say, ‘what’s that noise?’ said he’d take me up on a lake and it’s the greylag geese but that I should have some Even if you have a friend who fishes, flying in from Scandinavia casting lessons first. That’s start with a couple of professional casting about 500 feet above you in what happened; this guy took lessons. These can be fun even if you a great arrow formation. me to the ponds in Hampstead don’t take to it. The majority of reservoirs When you’re watching a Heath and I spent a couple of have angling clubs, which can offer dipper bird going from rock to hours learning to cast with a guidance, and a local fishing tackle shop trout rod. I thought, ‘this is will do the same. Alternatively, find a local rock and fishing under the water, you can’t help thinking, bloody wonderful’. Then I went instructor at ‘I’m lucky to be here’. ● on various courses, took it up 70 | THE POST |

“You’re doing what mankind did thousands of years ago to get food, and that is a very basic part of it that’s deep down inside all of us” | THE POST | 71

Outside / Take a hike Route instructions

1. Leave the car park at the end opposite where you drove in. Straight ahead of you is the bottom end of the Hay Inclined Plane A , which joins the upper and lower portions of the Shropshire Canal. Cross carefully and go down the steps to the canal. Go left along the canal to the Coalport China Museum B and the youth hostel. Cross the footbridge by the museum building and go straight on to the road (Coalport High Street). Cross over and take the path opposite to reach Coalport Village Hall. Go to the far right-hand corner of the overflow car park where there is a path leading to the Silkin Way C . There is a fingerpost there. Take the Sutton Hill direction through a wicket gate, then go left and diagonally uphill through scrubland. Go through a second gate and pass a ‘Monarchs Way’ waymark D to a third gate. Go right past a derelict building with a tall chimney and along the security fence that marks the boundary of Blists Hill Museum. Shortly afterwards, you’ll see the two canal basins forming the top of the Hay Inclined Plane. The building with the tall chimney, which you have just passed, was the winding house.

Discover more of Britain. Come on a walk around Shropshire’s Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale Covering 8.7 miles, this walk should take a little over four hours to complete with little exertion. It starts at Coalport China Museum, Telford, TF8 7HZ at a small free car park near the museum.

3. Go left downhill to the footbridge over the road, which is underneath the Lee Dingle Bridge F . Cross the footbridge, then turn right uphill for 40m to the driveway of the All Nations Inn G . Turn left up the driveway to the car park. Go through the gap in the fence on the left by the end of the Lee Dingle Bridge, not the waymarked path with the handrail, which is the line of the Meadowpit Colliery Tramway. Now go right along the fence line, then ahead on a muddy path through the woods (Lee Dingle). You pass a birch grove, then the path forks at an indistinct junction with a streambed on the left. Either way is OK. Follow the streambed up two steps, passing a garden fence on your right, then veer left across the streambed and climb past a stile onto a surfaced path by houses H . 4. Go left along the fence line. After 200m, turn sharp right, following the fence uphill. You reach a path junction where you go right through trees. The path bends right to a fingerpost. Take the right-hand (Ironbridge) path through beech trees alongside a wire fence, which overlooks the Severn. You

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Photography: Getty, Philip Cheesewright

Off the beaten track

Above: A view of The Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale, above the River Severn

2. Keep to the main track, emerging in a sloping grassy area with an old house on the hilltop to your right. Take a sharp left back into the trees, and then follow the post-and-wire museum boundary fence right. On your left through the fence you will see first the canal, with a stop lock, then later on the Victorian Village E with its replica pit head gear and the museum car park. At the end of the fence turn left down to the museum entrance on Legges Way.

your route S








Y Aa






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Af Ah Ag Ai

A Aj Ak


Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013


eventually get a first glimpse of the pink cooling towers of Ironbridge Power Station. You then emerge into Lloyds Meadow, where you can follow the path straight ahead towards the power stations, passing one hedge line with a waymark. The path enters trees again at a four-way fingerpost. This is ‘The Crostan’ which is formed from old mine waste and contains rare heathland. Take the left (Wesley Road) turn. Go down a steepish woodland path,

ignoring a right turn to Benthall View. After 18 steps, go left through a squeeze stile, then down another 18 steps to the driveway of ‘Springfield’. Go down the steep drive to the road junction with a sign ‘Lloyds Coppice / The Crostan’. Ignore the sign, turning right along Wesley Road. 5. Turn first right up Jockey Bank. There are two pubs here, the Golden Ball and the Horse and

Above: Your route takes you past highlights like Dale End Park (perfect for picnics), Coalbrookdale Chapel and Dale House. Learn about the area at the Museum of the Gorge (bottom right) | THE POST | 73

Outside / Take a hike Jockey. The Golden Ball is the oldest licenced pub in Ironbridge; its first licence being in 1728. Bear left to Madeley Road. On your left is the Madeley Wood Old Methodist Chapel I , which is now the Ironbridge Business Centre. Ahead of you is its replacement. Carefully cross Madeley Road, and turn left towards the John W Fletcher Memorial School J . Opposite the school you need to turn right up Belmont Road. Thirty metres up on the left is the birthplace of Billy Wright of Wolverhampton Wanderers K . Keep going straight, ignoring the left fork (Hillside). Forty metres further on, at a right turn (Belmont Road) is the old workhouse L . Keep on going past the Crown Inn to the junction with Lincoln Hill, then cross and go right past the traffic calmer before turning sharp left along the waymarked drive of ‘Limeburners’. After another 30m, go right through a gap between bushes, then follow an undulating muddy path through trees to a junction with a fingerpost. 6. Go left to the Rotunda M . There’s a viewing platform here with an impressive view over the river to The Iron Bridge. There used to be limestone mines here, which are now filled in. Return to the fingerpost, and this time keep on the right to Church Road. Pass a sculpture made of a tree stump, then cross Church Road into a lane. Follow the lane to the boundary of the cemetery, then go left through a gate into a grassed area. Follow the path along the left-hand hedge line, ignoring a left turn into the wood and a right fork to where the path curves right. Here, go left through a gate back into Dale Coppice. Follow the well-made path round to the right past the site of the Doric Temple. At the fingerpost, you need to keep going straight on for Woodside C.B.D. Then go down 30 steps and bear left to the next signpost, where you take the Wellington Road direction past a steel-fenced water tank. Go down 40 more steps to emerge on Church Road at the Chapel N . 7. Cross the road, then go right to the junction and cross Wellington Road. Straight ahead is a factory building with the legend ‘Coalbrookdale, Founded 1709’. This is part of the Coalbrookdale Company’s works, now Aga-Rayburn O . Also, you will find a Coalbrookdale Company Jubilee lamppost of 1897. Go right along Wellington Road a few metres, then down the ramp into the yard of the museum. The building with the clock tower is The Museum of Iron and ‘Enginuity’ P . Go to the right and cross a grassed area to reach a cast-iron Coalbrookdale fountain. Continue to the glass ‘tent’ containing the original furnace where the first iron in the world smelted using coke was made Q . Leave the grassed area by climbing the steps on the left of the glass 74 | THE POST |

‘tent’ and take the exit under the right-hand end of the viaduct, then turn right up Darby Road for a few metres to the road junction. Cross over for a good view of Upper Furnace Pool, then follow the pavement uphill past the Darby houses R (or go up the steep ramp opposite to the houses themselves). At the top end of the houses there is a cast-iron fingerpost pointing across the road to the Quaker Burial Ground where some of the Darbys are buried. 8. Go left at the 1960s house opposite and up 38 steps to the burial ground S . Continue past the entrance to a gateway across the path. Ignore the path ahead that leads to an arboretum. Instead, follow the path left past the backs of the Darby

Above: The impressive Coalbrookdale Viaduct in the Ironbridge Gorge Below: The cooling Towers at Ironbridge Power Station and a narrowboat on the Shropshire Union Canal

“There are two pubs here, the Golden Ball and the Horse and Jockey. The Golden Ball is the oldest licenced pub in Ironbridge” houses, then past an iron gate and continue along a path past a cottage to return to Darby Road. Go through the last arch on the right of the viaduct (signed Coach Road), which brings you back to the Museum of Iron. Retrace your steps up the ramp to Wellington Road. On your right is the Coalbrookdale (Aga Rayburn) factory O . On your left, at no. 43, among rows of workers’ cottages, is the Foundry Masters House T , with quaint chimneys. Behind this is Holy Trinity Church U . Where the road splits to form Dale Road and Paradise is the youth hostel V (once a Workers’ Institute) and the iron war memorial. Keep right down Dale Road past an old mill – now a care home – then head past the timber-framed Rose Cottage. On your right is the Church Hall for Trinity Church. You eventually come to a mini-roundabout; cross over and go left into Ironbridge town centre. 9. Walk along The Wharfage, past the large factory buildings and the teddy bear shop W . Keep on past the car park opposite the one-time Old Rodney pub. Next is the Museum of the Gorge X which was a riverside warehouse built as a fake castle. On the quayside, note the primitive tramway rails cut into the brickwork, which are submerged when the river floods. Keep on past the attractive buildings of Ironbridge until you reach The Iron Bridge itself Y . Opposite is the Tontine Hotel Z . 10. Cross over the bridge and go past the toll house, then turn left into the car park at the cast-iron fingerpost opposite Benthall Edge picnic site. Walk straight through to the other end of the car park,

where you keep on down the Severn Way Aa , a path along the line of what was the Severn Valley Railway. You pass an information board on the Bedlam Furnaces Ab , visible on the other side of the river. Go under a road bridge and footbridge, then cross over a street in the centre of Coalford village. On the right is the Coalford Methodist Chapel Ac . To your left is the modern steel Jackfield Bridge Ad . Follow the trackbed past an old loading bank on the right to a restored level crossing, which used to span three tracks. Continue along the road, Lloyds Head, past Calcutts House Ae , then left along Church Road past Jackfield School Af to the Jackfield Tile Museum Ag . 11. Continue down Church Road, crossing the line of the old railway. The first cottage on the left is the old railway crossing keeper’s cottage. The second is the ‘Severn Trow’ Ah . Go past St Mary the Virgin Church Ai and at the end of the road go left down a woodland path to the riverbank. Follow the path, emerging on the driveway of the Half Moon pub. Go left of the pub, then follow the path along the right-hand side of the building and past the backs of cottages to Maw’s Tile Factory Aj – now a craft centre. Go right, then left into the main entrance. Go through the yard and past buildings on the riverside, then turn right onto Salthouse Road. If the centre is closed, go to the main entrance and then turn left onto the road. Go left as far as the railway bridge, then left down Ferry Road to the Boat Inn pub and the River Severn. Note the flood heights on the pub door, and the memorial tree. Cross the river by the memorial bridge Ak . Continue up the steps and cross the road to return to the car park.

Above: Ironbridge village located downstream from the bridge

• This walk was kindly supplied by Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity. They work to safeguard the footpaths, countryside and other places where we all go walking, and encourage people to walk for their health and wellbeing. To become a member, visit

Have you got a favourite walk? Email details to post | THE POST | 75

Outside / Once in a lifetime

Miracle of nature Iguazu Falls South America

Don’t miss out on nature’s most wondrous sights – and they don’t come much more impressive than Iguazu Falls

Photography: Photoshot

■ When Eleanor Roosevelt first set eyes on the magnificent falls that separate Brazil and Argentina, she exclaimed that it made “Niagara look like a kitchen faucet”. They are words that will resonate should you ever come across this miracle of nature. Stretching nearly two miles long, Iguazu Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Vast torrents of water cascade over more than 270 falls, with some standing over 80m tall. The huge volume of spray that results gives rise to rich and verdant vegetation in the surrounding subtropical forest. The best way to see the falls is to stay at a nearby lodge, giving you time to explore the rest of the rainforest at the same time. The Argentinian side – where most of the falls are – boasts numerous walking trails, while the Brazilian side offers close-up views of Devil’s Throat, where 14 falls drop from Iguazu’s highest point to leave a permanent 30m cloud of spray overhead and a rainbow to boot. Visitors are welcome at any time of the year, but avoid public holidays if you can (particularly Easter). The humidity in the summer (December-March) can be oppressive, however spring and autumn are ideal. Full moon tours are always a good bet. • For more details and tour prices visit the official site at Have you been somewhere amazing? Share it with us by emailing 76 | THE POST |

“Visit Devil’s Throat, where 14 falls drop from Iguazu’s highest point to leave a permanent 30m cloud of spray overhead and a rainbow to boot” | THE POST | 77

Outside / Top five

4. Unique Venice

2. Gaudi’s masterpiece

5. Gaze in awe at the Parthenon

Our pick of five Mediterranean sights everyone should see at least once

1. Discover the secrets of Pompeii

If you only see one thing in the Med, make it the breathtaking antiquities at Pompeii, the city that was buried by volcanic ash from the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79. These days it’s a vast archaeological site but the ancient streets, villas, mosaics and frescoes have been astonishingly well-preserved. You can walk the grid-style streets and appreciate over 15,000 pieces of Roman graffiti. Don’t miss the paintings and mosaics in the excavated villas or the impressive public buildings. There is little to explain what you’re actually looking at, so make the most of a visit by taking a guided tour of the area – there are plenty available. If you find Pompeii a little overwhelming, you can always head to nearby Herculaneum; it’s a more compact site that’s been more fully excavated. But you can easily visit both in a day. 78 | THE POST |

3. Istanbul’s minarets

With one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul has long been a melting pot for culture. Hagia Sophia is the lead attraction – a huge dome and four elegant minarets that rise majestically above the city. Its 30 million mosaic tiles have benefitted from a 10-year restoration project. It’s also worth visiting nearby Topkapi Palace to see its diamond candelabra, 86-karat diamond and the dagger with an emerald-encrusted handle.

Built in AD447, the Acropolis is the most perfect Doric temple with architectural distortions that make it appear more symmetrical than it really is. Don’t miss the New Acropolis Museum at the base of the hill, which houses thousands of statues, friezes and ancient artefacts.

Photography: Getty, Thinkstock

Mediterranean treasures

Barcelona is littered with gems from resident architect Antoni Gaudi, but the towering Sagrada Familia church is extra special. It’s been under construction since 1882, but isn’t set to be completed until 2026 at the earliest. You can enjoy the towering spires and facades from outside, but to fully appreciate the church, you’re better off paying for a tour of the inside so you can marvel at the way the light from the stained glass windows pools on the stone floors.

Famous for gondoliers and canals, car-free Venice is made up of nearly 120 tiny islands that are connected by over 400 bridges. St Mark’s Square, the Bell Tower and the Basilica are a few attractions that will inspire anyone, but it’s the little things that stand out. Without cars the city goes about its daily life on water and there’s something special about seeing a boat pull up at a front door to deliver a new fridge or TV. Venice needn’t be expensive, either; visit in January or February and there are plenty of offers to be had.

Where and when / Outside


Sun and sand With Europe’s weather turning more autumnal, you’ll need to travel further afield for seaside getaways. Florida comes into season in October. With the mercury in the high 70s and low 80s, the likes of SeaWorld are less crowded. The Caribbean is pleasantly warm at this time, too, although tropical storms begin to stir so Trinidad and Tobago – outside the hurricane belt – is an ideal destination.


GET away from it all with our pick of where to go in October and November

Going short haul Just because the weather is turning, that doesn’t rule out Europe. With the schools back and the peak season over, Europe is more affordable later in the year. Southern Spain, Italy and Greece are perfect for city breaks where you can take in the culture and history without wilting in the sun. The Acropolis in Athens is a must-see and you’re more likely to get a ticket to Spain’s Alhambra Palace.


Something different The Canary Islands are a safe bet for sun at this time of year, but why not think about a less commercialised corner of the islands? El Hierro is more remote, but its slow pace of life, natural sights and magical silence make it captivating. Egypt is another must-visit destination in November due to a fall in temperatures, which makes it more bearable. While Cairo’s recent troubles may put you off, its Red Sea coast resorts feel like a world away from that.

Shop ’til you drop

If you’re after glorious sunshine then Miami (main pic) is the place to head. Alternatively, you could lounge your days away on a Caribbean beach (above). If that doesn’t cut it, consider maxing out your credit card on a shopping spree in New York (above right) – perfect for a pre-Christmas splurge. There’s a getaway to suit everyone – and every budget

With Christmas just around the corner, how about a shopping trip to New York? Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the biggest events on the calendar and the sales on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) offer some excellent bargains (although the queues could mean you have to get up ultra early to take advantage of them). | THE POST | 79

Crosswords Post Puzzle 1 by Mr Magoo 1











ACROSS 1 Spades (7) 5 Hearts (7) 9 Clubs (5) 10 Diamonds (9) 11 This number (6) 12 Strip (8) 14 Institution (8) 15 Flower part (5) 18 Planet (5) 20 Part-human mythological race (8) 23 Investigation (8) 25 Rarely found (6) 27 Spring (9) 28 Summer (5) 29 Fall (7) 30 ____ winter (7)



12 13 14

17 18



21 22



25 26




DOWN 1 A snooker rest (6) 2 Alone (2,4,3) 3 Oriental (7) 4 Browse the Web (4) 5 Official solicitor in Scotland (5,5) 6 Party food (7) 7 Second attempt at exam (5) 8 Affectionate (8) 13 Magic (10) 16 Game bird (9) 17 Normandy operation; superior (8) 19 Coast (7) 21 Antiquated (7) 22 Extreme fear (6) 24 Business clothes (5) 26 Average; intend (4]


Nomen by Mr Magoo ACROSS 1 Spooner et al’s admission of cattiness under a spell (9) 6 Vanilla, perhaps, starts to sound perfect with sorbet (5) 9 US soldiers holding hands with dames (5) 10 November 1st collapses without starting twice (3,6) 11 A cat in charge of tiny things (6) 12 Stay, that is: stays etc (8) 14 Biscuits made by abstract American composer (10) 15 Begin the golf tournament (4) 18 Revivals, to begin with, are not very well done (4) 19 Learn net is different in this version of sport (4,6) 22 Owl’s spouse in poem stays up dancing, catching cold (5-3) 24 One found in litter who needs litter? (6) 26 Milan’s team game: passing back and forth? (9) 27 Playthings of strange old ladies losing stuffing (5)

80 | THE POST |












12 13




17 18



21 22


24 25





28 Spoken, given permission to speak (5) 29 Sturdy as a rock when Dr Who appears (9)

DOWN 1 Swingers maybe with the beginning of everything changing the end (3,4) 2 One who’s keen on conflict, and enthusiastic about Germany, but not a lot (9)

3 Wine in trial is most succulent (8) 4 Try to pay attention (4) 5 Source of runs when touring India? (5,5) 6 Description of a dog in a story or his companion (6) 7 Concealed wife leaves Victor (5) 8 Religious festival new for Japanese? (7) 13 Schedules square to be delayed in child’s mathematical aid (10) 16 Roman god ate everything up – something smoked (9) 17 Let yourself go and puzzle (8) 18 Price almost all wrong for duplicate (7) 20 Sloth perhaps employs air-filled cavities (7) 21 Sounds like soaring wild bird of mixed parentage (6) 23 Ready for fierce contest (3-2) 25 Fancy stethoscope reveals lump in body (4)





Think you’re great at crosswords? Prove it. We have a Collins English Dictionary (Post Puzzle) and a Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary (Nomen) up for grabs for the first correct crossword pulled from the hat on Friday 22 Nov.

We’ve enjoyed putting this issue together so much that we’re doing it all again… •Find out how the ad men make us buy. What subtle tricks do they use and why aren’t we as rational as we like to think we are? •It’s time to dust off the wallet and seek out some bargains. From the best markets to the streets of New York we round up the world’s best shopping destinations. •Would you go abroad for healthcare? You might if it could save you a small fortune. When your health service won’t give you what you want, we look at the alternatives.

The competition closes 22 Nov. Usual rules apply. Editor’s decision is final. Solutions printed next issue

Subscribe & save Get The Post delivered to your door and save 45% on the shop price. Photography: Getty

How to enter: Take a photo of your completed crossword(s) or write down the answers then email You can also send to: The Post, PLYP, 14 Greville St, London, EC1N 8SB.

Phone: 01737 457 890 Email:

Christmas issue out early December

• Contents correct at time of going to press, but may be liable to change | THE POST | 81

The final word / Great Britons “The card machine arrives, but you want to tip in cash so that everyone can witness your generosity”

Proof that you’re not alone coping with adventures in the modern world

#1 The restaurant Choosing

The critic in the Sunday paper called it ‘a typically utilitarian culinary diversity, disguised in a blizzard of Epicurean greed’. Despite reading his column every week for the past ten years, you still can’t work out if he’s being complimentary or not. Might as well give it a go though, seeing as you’ve found a 50 per cent-off voucher online and you owe your friends a night out.


You ring to book a table for four. Saturday night, please, 82 | THE POST |

sometime around 8pm would be fine. The person on the other end says certainly, sir. Then you take a breath and apologetically reveal that you have a voucher. Saturday night is not for people like you, the waiter says, using different words. Monday night is for you, between 5pm and 7pm, in a special area. When you arrive you realise the special area is at the back. Never mind, at least you can reach the toilets easily, you reason to yourself, as the breeze from the hand dryer blows your napkin off the table.

An hour after being seated, you’re given a wine list. You pick the third least expensive. The wine arrives, you sip it and say it’s very nice, despite it tasting a bit like the Cinzano you’ve had in the cupboard since 1995. Then you agree to have one of the specials, so the waiter hasn’t wasted his time reciting them (although you didn’t manage to take in a single ingredient because you were deep in thought about the wine). You resist ordering the soufflé as it takes 20 minutes and you’re conscious that you have to give back the table in about eight seconds.

Paying and tipping

Even though you insisted on paying at the start, you’re now annoyed, especially since your friend ordered chateaubriand for two. The card machine arrives, but you want to tip in cash so everyone can witness

your generosity. You fear that a klaxon will go off with a sign flashing ‘tight sod’ above your head when you press the ‘no thanks’ yellow button. In your panic you press red, causing receipt paper to spool across the floor. This is when you realise that you forgot to present your voucher – which expires today – at the start of the meal as required.


In the time between getting in the car and arriving home, thoughts regarding the meal have quickly gone from, ‘the prawns were a bit small’ to ‘I’m going to write in to Watchdog’. You vow never to return, until you see the offer in your Sunday paper next week: 75% off. • Very British Problems by Rob Temple (£12.99, hardback; £5.99, ebook) is available from Amazon and Waterstones

Illustration: Christian Adams

Great Britons


! V T

n so u e Se

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