Notebook

Pippa Middleton on wine, fishing and Kim Kardashian

Plus: Eulogy for a church, and my first go at country dancing

13 December 2014

9:00 AM

13 December 2014

9:00 AM

A few days ago I went truffle hunting in Piedmont. It’s been a bumper year for white truffles in northern Italy — the best ever, according to some experts — thanks to climate change and an exceptionally wet summer. My guide was a brilliantly sharp-eyed Italian, Mario, whose dog Rex did the snuffling. Mario told me that dogs are better trufflers than pigs because pigs often eat the truffles before you can get your hands on them. We (or rather Rex) found two, and I have been devouring truffle since I returned; I’ve had it with scrambled eggs, mashed potato, pasta and even just straight onto toast. I didn’t think it was possible to get bored of something so expensive, but I must say I’m a bit truffled out, and my flat now smells of truffles. That’s what people call a first world problem, I know.

I’ve just passed my Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) advanced wine exam with distinction. I spent lots of time swotting up — quaffing, essentially, but with pen and paper to hand — and hanging out in an excellent little wine shop near my office called The Sampler. I tried to sneak in when no paps were about; it might have been a bit embarrassing if I’d been photographed repeatedly entering an upmarket offy for several afternoons running.

Anyway, I fancy myself as a bit of a wine expert now, and am contemplating taking a full diploma, described on the WSET website as ‘the stepping-stone to the Master of Wine qualification’. From party planner to sommelier — now that’s what I’d call career progression. I hear The Spectator has a very good wine club. Maybe I should sign up with a view to taking over.


The church in which I was baptised is to close. St Andrew’s, Bradfield, is a handsome flint building, extensively redesigned by George Gilbert Scott in the 1840s, which sits in the middle of Bradfield College, a thriving public school. The school was originally founded to provide choristers for the church. Now the College is reportedly in talks to buy St Andrew’s from the Diocese of Oxford. I’m sure the school can be trusted to look after the property well; nonetheless the story makes me sad — passing of time and all that.

Recently, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I tried my hand at western dancing. Wyoming is real cowboy country; the mountain scenery is stunning. Everyone wore cowboy boots and the men had big, non-ironic moustaches that curled upwards. It’s easy to get carried away with the whole free-riding atmosphere. My dance partner was about 80, and I did my best to keep up. But it turns out I have two left feet, at least as far as moving to rhythm is concerned. Embarrassingly, my cringe-inducing moves were caught on camera and posted on the internet. I now worry I’ve dashed my chances of making it on to Strictly Come Dancing, which is a shame as I’ve just bought a military-style costume like the famous one worn by Cheryl Cole in the video of ‘Fight for this Love’. It includes a pair of satin slip-leg trousers, V-body leotard and fingerless gloves.

I am an enthusiastic, albeit rather amateur, salmon fisher, and recently I was thrilled to catch a ten-pounder — my first English catch, too, on the river Tyne. I used a fly called ‘simply red’, because I’ve always been a secret fan of Mick Hucknall and his vivacious ginger locks. What wonderful names we give these little fish lures: ‘wee monkey’, ‘hairy mary’ and ‘posh tosh’. For a spinning rod there’s even a ‘flying condom’.

Christmas is coming fast, and I’m feeling full of cheer. Nothing better than a bit of biting cold outside and fun indoors. Best of all I like to do the crossword while listening (and singing along) to carols on the radio. Does that make me old? I’d already bought most of my presents online well ahead of ‘Cyber Monday’ last week. Like many women, I tend to buy far too many things and then return about two thirds of them by post. It’s strange how consumer culture now means that we buy things before making the decision as to whether we actually want them. Men are different — at least the men I know are.

No year is complete without a bottom story, and the ‘Rear of 2014’ award undoubtedly goes to Kim Kardashian, after her posterior exploded all over the internet last month. I must say that mine — though it has enjoyed fleeting fame — is not comparable. But the Kim butt story did make me pause. What is it with this American booty culture? It seems to me to be a form of obsession. Kim’s aim, apparently, was to break the internet, but I’m not sure she’s going the right way about it.

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  • dado_trunking

    Pippa, newly estabished sommelier or otherwise – would you kindly commit now to never have plastic surgery, never review a bottle with plastic cork, never get a tattoo or review a Mouton with a label designed by Charles. Each and every one of those pledges would make our hearts beat faster, in a heartbeat.

  • IanSankey

    Pippa is without doubt the most underrated royal – keep doing your thing your highness, we love you.

    • John Lea

      Don’t be such an utter creep. She would despise you for such full-frontal sycophancy if she ever took the time to get to know you – which she never will.

  • John Lea

    In other words, someone who isn’t particularly interesting or talented, but is nevertheless famous for being the sister of someone who is married to someone even more famous – and let’s face it, being famous these days is the ultimate criteria when judging someone’s merit, even if that fame rests entirely on being born into a particular family and lineage. Anyway, yes, as I was saying, an uninteresting and untalented (yet famous) sibling writes pointless waffle for so-called ‘high-brow’ journal and is the proclaimed new Orwell. Hallelujah!

    • dramocles

      Oh god, I read this because it was rated popular. There’s 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

    • cdvision

      John: like the Kardashian, she’s famous for her arse.

  • Rikki

    Such inanity . . .

  • ve7dcg

    Surely this is a spoof. Not even Pippa Middleton would write such pretentious drivel

    • hi

      Yes, it reads like a Private Eye spoof! I hope you are right. If so, it is very good satire and let’s have more.

      “First world problem”? No, it is much more niche than that.

  • HarryArms

    That’s one long boring Facebook update.

  • Geekychat1

    Obviously this lady doesn’t have any other mission in life rather than talking about her clothes, chocolates and her meaningless lifestyle. Considering she’s not a designer, chef or any kind of talented personality as others we know and see on TV, it all seems nonsense and ridiculous. As much as people respect her sister, Pippa gets 0 points for everything she’s about. Good call though, at least she knows how to stay on cover pages of magazines and we do like reading rubbish, don’t we?!

    • kate

      She is writing about the truffles sniffed out by pigs and dogs that are a sort of fungus and not those wot come from Thorntons. Do keep up

  • The Master

    “Fleeting fame” – far too modest. It is an image that will last until the end of civilisation.

  • omalone1

    Gwiz, I believe that the “fact” this piece “was” written “yesterday” says enough…

  • Frederick

    This is such drivel. She really couldn’t sound more boring if she tried.

  • AJH1968

    Truffles and wild salmon are my absolute favourite. Hope you saved some truffle to make, truffle oil.

  • tsemczuk

    I’m still convinced that the only reason she gets any attention is because people like saying, Pippa.”

    • Mister Rible

      in Italian ‘Pippa’ means ‘a w**k’

  • paulus

    Did you not take offence with this Italian asking you to sniff out truffles for his bait. There is arrogant then there is disrespectful, you shouldn’t have told him you had a keen nose all the way up to dilploma level sommelier.

  • Lynn B.

    Why are most of these comments so mean-spirited?

    • pretentious…not like me who came here hoping to see some nice arse.

    • Jonno Ash

      Because such people are envious of her.

  • masterful16

    oh to lead a trivial life…

  • popbijoux

    Seriously? This must be a spoof… “Ramblings, by Me” is her new book.

  • bugshead

    I think I would prefer to try and get to grips with Kim K’s well seasoned largesse rather than Pippa M’s modest effort.

  • starfish

    “……thanks to climate change and an exceptionally wet summer.”
    I didn’t get past that
    Just what we need, another upper-class airhead
    Has she considered standing for Labour?

  • Rupert Williams

    Well I’m a fan of Pippa, largely due I must say to the exquisite form of the P Middletonesque backside, but I thought that her writing has a splendid dash to it, and I’d be happy to read more of it.

    Certainly less rubbish than an awful lot of the lefty crap that is published in appalling rags like the bloddy grauniad and so on.

  • Dalia

    America is obsessed with “big booty culture”?? Umm…BRAZIL anoyone??

  • Malus Pudor

    Private Eye gave us Glenda Slagg in the 60s…. this wretched woman is surely their long-awaited follow-up….

    She is vapid, vacuous, pallid, bland and a hanger-on without equal… I wonder if that last geezer she attached herself to…. the worthy from Folkestone … has managed to cling on to this Messneresque social climber ?

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “Pippa Middleton on wine, fishing and Kim Kardashian. As Miss Middleton I’m sure knows the Truffle is a fungus, ascomycete to be exact. One can eat any fungi, some only once. I must admit I have never been to Kazakhstan.

  • Spectator: please try to have people who actually are interesting to post articles. Just because someone who is related to someone who is now “famous”, doesn’t mean we really want to hear them write about utterly mundane things.
    Pippa: stop making money out of your sister, it is so uncouth.

  • sunnydayrider

    Okay Yah! Pips. What a spiffing article. So full of everything normal person (IE Non Speccy Junkies) could wish to read over his lightly poached egg whites and Barita. Witty, imformative and full of the scintillating repartée we associate with your last Speccy blockbuster “What Pippa did next.” Pleased to see you finally snared a 10 pounder, a fish sadly, still no luck on the bloke front I guess. What about having a fling at Russel Brand, you two should hit it off,he’d be a wheeze at Wimbledon and Mummsy would just loooooove him for country weekends with the rest of the wannabees. But seriously Pips, what a hopeless grasping, groping twat you are. Your sisters made it your just hanging on for the hand me downs. Most unediyfing, get a job.

  • justejudexultionis

    ‘A few days ago I went truffle hunting in Piedmont.’ —

    Beyond parody. I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of people using food banks this Christmas or the women and children being raped and blown up in Syria will be delighted to hear about the ‘bumper’ truffle season in Italy.

    republic dot org dot uk — the campaign for a democratically elected head of state in the UK.

  • James Lamb

    Is this satire? So hard to tell these days…

  • Mister Rible

    what on earth is this rubbish?

  • Shoe On Head

    at her age and social orbit – she should be taking that many drugs, she’d never find the time to write such xxxx.

  • diggler2002

    Ok, it is not Tolstoy, but is it any more crap than the rubbish articles you find in a Sunday newspaper.

  • Pippa is a hell of a lot more classy than any Kartrashian or Jenner!!!!

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