Living the high life – on a budget

Gate leading to a country estate © Thinkstock

Impoverished gentry “who find themselves down to their last under-gardener” can still live the high life with good planning, says The Times. All you need do is follow the advice of 75-year-old Baroness Rawlings, who, after her advice to us last year to use hot water bottles and bed socks to save on energy bills, is now giving tips on how to run a stately home on a budget.

Among her ten tips, disclosed to Tatler magazine, are never serve plated food – it encourages waste. Make your guests help themselves. “Supermarket waste is minor compared with plate waste,” says Lady Rawlings. “It’s an unmentioned disgrace.”

Grow your own fruit is another of her rules – and buy local. “There’s no need to pay for air miles.” If you make Melba toast (as of course we all constantly do), keep the crusts. They can be fried “and served as soldiers with boiled eggs”.

And if you’re having a summer party, don’t bother with a marquee. Buy 200 Panama hats instead. If it’s hot and sunny, give them to your guests; if it rains go inside.

For the moment, going inside isn’t a problem for Lady Rawlings. She has a 13-bedroom house – Burnham Westgate Hall – near Sandringham in Norfolk. But following her split from financier Paul Zuckerman, the house is on the market (for £5.75m) and she is looking for somewhere smaller. She may end up needing a marquee after all.

How to make the Rich List

If you want to make it to the Rich List, grow up poor and lose your father when you’re young. The Sunday Times looked at what successful entrepreneurs had in common: a surprising number, it found, had lost their father (either from death or desertion) when they were children.

Sir James Dyson, the inventor, lost his at nine. “Not having a father, particularly at that time, was very unusual. I felt different. I was on my own. I think subconsciously I felt a need to prove myself.” John Caudwell, the mobile phone tycoon, also lost his father early: he had a stroke when Caudwell was 14 and died four years later. The Barclay twins lost their father at 12, leaving school four years later.

The publisher Felix Dennis lost his father too but “in a different way”, as The Sunday Times put it. “When I was three my father emigrated to Australia, and for reasons I’ve never wanted to know, my mother didn’t follow him. So I was brought up by a strong woman… Meanwhile, I was the alpha male of the family.”

Poverty in childhood is a more obvious common link. Both Caudwell and Alan Sugar grew up in very straitened circumstances, in Sugar’s case in a council flat in east London, where he watched his father, he says, “struggle to support the family, never knowing from one week to the next if he’d have a job”.

There are other factors too: little formal education and showing business acumen at an early stage. And, of course, there’s luck. In my experience, most successful entrepreneurs will acknowledge that, while hard work and ambition matter, nothing can be achieved without luck.

Tabloid money: raunchy Rih-Rih’s invisible dress

• “Now we know why Fifa delegates made the bizarre decision to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” says Rod Liddle in The Sun.

“The Qataris bribed greedy African delegates to vote in favour of the slave-state desert hellhole – and so Qatar won. I mean, you probably guessed as much at the time”, but now we know that all that bilge Fifa came out with when the result was announced – how it would bring football to a country where the sport would develop and so on – was not quite right.

“It was horrible, grasping African politicians lining their own pockets. If they don’t re-run the vote, we should refuse to take part.”

• “If the EU were a person, he or she would be a strutting know-all living the high life on borrowed money… while lecturing others on thrift and good housekeeping,” says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. “Imagine it as a down-at-heel family with half its kids on welfare, scolding you about the size of your mortgage while expecting someone else to pay its rent.

This was the scene last week as cheeky Brussels criticised Britain’s approach to tax and spending – even as it was holding crisis talks about the stricken euro. The timing was exquisite, with Britain named the world’s fourth-richest nation.”

But while we’ve “created a million new jobs and cut unemployment below 7%, Euroland has been struggling with 12% out of work, many of them under 25 and doomed to a life on welfare”.

• “Rihanna’s perfume advertisement has been pulled in the UK for being too raunchy,” says Katie Hopkins in The Sun. Someone “complained it was a bad influence on young girls. Rih-Rih made amends, wearing a beautiful full-length dress to a fashion awards ceremony in New York. From behind, you could barely see a thing. Of the dress, I mean.”

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