Am I alone in finding photographs of a 60-year-old man energetically kite surfing a little unsettling? All the newspapers carried shots of the American Democratic presidential contender John Kerry "relaxing" on his strange half surf board half glider contraption before the Democratic convention. An image meant to convey youth and vitality, I’m sure. And it almost did, until you noticed the careworn craggy face atop the lithe and youthful wet-suited figure.
I always experience a frisson of excitement when I spot the name of an old friend or contemporary in the newspaper. It’s always interesting to discover what’s happened to people since I last saw them trying to drink a yard of beer in less than 60 seconds at the graduation ball.
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I was quite excited on Monday about the rather smart drinks reception I was about to attend. It’s not every day a girl gets invited to No 10 Downing Street. I’ve spent many hours standing outside that famous address in the rain and snow, reporting on what might be going on behind the closed doors, but rarely have I stepped within the hallowed portals. So smart clothes on - invite and the requested additional ID in hand - I hopped into a cab to Whitehall.
I talk far too much.
Apologising seems to be all the rage at the moment. You can barely open a newspaper or turn on the TV without finding some public figure taking the blame for something. President Bush is very sorry about the prisoner abuses in Abu Ghraib prison. President Clinton is sorry that he ever went near Monica Lewinsky - for himself, his family, her, her family and the whole country.
I have always believed that one of the things that makes Scottish Hebridean islands so magical is the unique effort it takes to travel to any one of them. Rarely have I ever made the journey to any of the islands without reflecting that it would be easier and quicker to get to New York, just not as rewarding.
Today is my sister’s wedding. Not today, time of writing, but today as you are reading this. So right now I am already on Islay and thanks to the very precise schedule that my future brother-in-law has already e-mailed me, I can tell you exactly what I am doing.
"You have remarkably good teeth for a European" is a slightly strange compliment, but meant as high praise, I believe, from the American who recently told me this. "I guess it’s because you’re on TV. Teeth are a very important asset in television," he said.
More and more married women are choosing to give up their careers and stay at home, according to a new report. You don’t even have to have children to bid farewell to the workplace, you just need to decide to become an old fashioned home-maker.
It is with some trepidation that I have just booked myself a weekend in New York. I do adore the city, and I have a friend’s surprise birthday party to attend, so what is there to be nervous of? Well, there is a huge drawback with New York these days - you can’t smoke there. And as much as I love Manhattan, I also love to smoke.
People often imagine that as a journalist, it is easy for me to deal with important and influential people of all descriptions. They feel that I should be able to handle politicians particularly well because I am the daughter of one.
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