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" A decent beard has long been the number one must-have fashion item for any fugitive from justice. "
" Words have a life of their own. There is no telling what they will do. Within a matter of days, they can even turn turtle and mean the opposite. "
" The first thing I hear when I wake up is the sea, which is so close to our house that its reflections from the sun dapple our bedroom ceiling. "
" Traditionally, wake-up calls are meant to wake you up rather than send you to sleep: the clue is in the wording. But those who talk of wake-up calls tend to have an easy-going way with words. "
" The first sign builders are on their way is when - hey, presto! - a skip appears outside your house. "
" As life goes on, we accrue more and more loseable objects. Providence dictates that objects that are too large to lose, such as houses, always come with tiny little keys, specially designed to give you the slip. "
" My life is a monument to procrastination, to the art of putting things off until later, or much later, or possibly never. "
Life Is A
" Somewhere in the back of their minds, hosts and guests alike know that the dinner party is a source of untold irritation, and that even the dullest evening spent watching television is preferable. "
" Some of the most untidy writers have also been the most productive. Iris Murdoch, for instance, wrote a good 30 books in a house strewn with rubbish. "
" The only behaviour that is truly common is to avoid doing something because you think others might consider it common. "
" Just as there is something about an empty skip that makes you want to fill it, so there is something about a full skip that makes you want to empty it. "
" It is only if you happen to be a newscaster that the tongue-twister spells peril. "
" The British love of queuing and discomfort and being bossed around seems to have found a new outlet in the pop festival. "
" When I tell people I don't own a mobile phone and wouldn't know how to text, they react as though I have just confessed that I can't read. "
" When cars honk and hoot and drunks squeeze out of car windows and scream, you can be sure that football is in the air. "
" Like many men, I am highly skilled in the art of losing things but prefer to outsource the recovery process. "
" Many people see the chance to eat something for nothing, without the need to cook or wash up, as the great consolation of going out to dinner. But they forget quite how difficult it is to talk to a stranger and eat at the same time. "
" All the wealthiest people in the U.S. seem compelled to brag about how humble they are. "
" Men know something that women don't know. Never ask directions of a stranger. "
" Historians are the consummate hairdressers of the literary world: cooing in public, catty in private. "
" How I hate the Beautiful Game! I hate its cry-baby players and its gruff, joyless managers, its blokish supporters and its sinister owners, its whistle-peeping referees and its chippy little linesmen, its excitable commentators and - perhaps most of all - its unpluggable 'analysts.' "
" Over the years, the idea seems to have grown up that brightly coloured flowers are vulgar, and that the only flowers to be admitted to the walled garden of good taste are discreet and pastel-hued. "
" Comedy is the slave of time. What seemed funny then is unlikely to seem funny now, just as what strikes us as funny now would not have seemed funny then. "
" People think of waves as going in an orderly crash - whoosh - crash - whoosh, but in fact there are lots of different crashes and whooshes, all at different stages, and all going off at the same time. "
" I have twice met Jeffrey Archer, and on both occasions was struck by the firmness of his handshake - and the way he looked me straight in the eye, too. "
" What would we do without plaques to tell us who lived where and when? They introduce the past into the present, and are the quickest and most interesting way of reminding us that our streets exist above and beyond the here-and-now. "
" For some reason, it is always thrilling to spot your home town in the news. "
" Like the periwig and the bowler hat, the plus-four and the bow-tie, the blazer is on the way out, and those who persist in wearing it do so with a smattering of self-consciousness, a touch of obstinacy, even a pinch of camp. "
" Often, I grow irritated before the first tile has been placed on the Scrabble board. This generally occurs when one of my opponents has insisted upon bringing a dictionary to the table, making it clear that he will be consulting it throughout the game. "
" Whenever television cameras are interviewing people in their homes, I tend to look over their shoulders and have a good snoop at their living rooms. I am always astonished at how clean they all look, with nothing out of place or unnecessary or dropped down any old how. "
" Monopoly may also end in tears, but its tensions are cruder, lacking the infinitely subtle shadings of irritation and acrimony provided by Scrabble. "