I'm always reading about trendy 60-year-olds who drive sports cars and live racy lives. So it was rather refreshing to read about the two Dutch grandparents who have been travelling round the world over the last three years in a 100-year-old Model T Ford with a top speed of 45mph. Dirk and Trudy Regter have so far trundled through Africa, North and South America, Australia, India and China. Along the way they are raising funds for orphans living at SOS Children's Villages International. Good for them.
Laughing all the way to the bank
With the super-rich having taken over much of central London, there's no shortage of work for the capital's top divorce lawyers. Super-rich divorces may be a case of "loathing all the way to the bank", as The Daily Telegraph puts it, but it's a different matter for the legal advisers. They're the ones who benefit from all the loathing, and they're raking it in.
At the top end of the spectrum, says the paper's Julia Llewellyn-Smith, the high-flying lawyers command seven-figure salaries, and typically charge £600 an hour, "allowing them to live almost as luxuriously as their clients".
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They're also privy to plenty of secrets. "When it comes to divorce, I've seen everything," says Marilyn Stowe, the founder of Stowe Family Law. "There was a wife who sold the Steinway piano without the knowledge of her pianist husband; the wife who sawed the legs off a Chippendale cabinet and delivered it, along with its removed legs, to her husband; and a wife who ran a bath of scalding water and bleach, into which she dumped all her husband's suits and ties."
Overall, divorce rates in Britain may be slightly down, but there's never a shortage of expensive break-ups, while the divorce rate among the over-60s is rising. A typical high-profile case is the £400mbattle now going on between the Laura Ashley boss Dr Khoo Kay Peng, 77, and his former wife of 43 years, Pauline Siew Phin Chai, 69. It comes against the background of some huge payouts in the last two years, including the £337m by the financier Sir Chris Hohn.
So what's changed? There have always been lots of very rich people. Some think that recent cases reflect the way our society has become increasingly aggressive and confrontational. "In general, people are behaving a lot worse," says the lawyer Vanessa Lloyd Platt. "No one has time, everyone is angry, people have unrealistic expectations, and that's reflected in the way families are treating each otherand has divorce lawyers rubbing their hands in glee."
The next austerity cut: the weather
David Laws's new book about the coalition government sometimes makes it sound like "a deadpan version of The Thick of It", says Robbie Millen in The Times. He cites the day when the PM's former chief strategist, Steve Hilton, called a policy powwow and announced that, as well as the deficit, he wanted to cut back bad weather. "Why can't we fly planes over the Atlantic," he mused, "to drop chemicals on the clouds and force them to break up, and get rid of their rain before they get to our shores?"
Tabloid money... Top Gear stunt takes our bobbies off the beat
"The next time you hear about the savage cuts' that mean the endangered local Bobby can no longer investigate your burglary unless there's an R in the month," says Jane Moore in The Sun, "remember that five or six police outriders were in attendance for the filming of the controversial Top Gear stunt featuring an oversized boy [presenter and actor Matt LeBlanc, pictured] in his oversized toy near the Cenotaph. And as their presence was paid for privately' via the licence fee, the hard-working taxpayer is forking out for them twice."
"American-born Boris Johnson is right to tell President Barack Obama to keep his nose out of our In-Out referendum," says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. "The mighty US would never allow its neighbours Mexico and South America to meddle in every nook and cranny of its daily life, like Brussels does in Britain's. The president, who is not universally popular, is expected to make hisviews known when he visits us next month. Unless he chooses his words carefully, Obama could drive voters into the Brexit lobby."
"South Africa won the rights to stage the 2010 football World Cup after bunging £7m in backhanders to corrupt Fifa officials," says Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail. "Well, knock me down with a feather." An investigation has concluded that South Africa "offered a more attractive bribe" than its nearest rival Morocco. "You must be as shocked as I am. Corruption?In international sport? What is the world coming to? This must have been a one-off. If and when they ever get round to scrutinising the bidding process which led to Qatar winning the rights to stage the 2022 World Cup, I'm sure they will conclude that the decision was solely because of the mega-rich desert state's temperate climate and distinguished footballing tradition."
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