The real meaning of ‘high’ tea

At school it usually consisted of sandwiches made with Marmite or cheese or both

Are stuffed animals acceptable in the home?

It would be splendid if Damien Hirst’s stuffed cow were to be found in, say, a massive larder

Tangos and teacakes

It is mesmerising to watch couples, some gay and most of them elderly and properly dressed, dancing their cha-cha-chas

Wine etiquette at dinner parties

If one is serving plonk, decanters can be used as decoys for the plonkiness of the vino

Beauty is in the eye of the hoarder

The nouveaux riches simply do not appreciate jumbled piles of stuff. Anathema to them is anything old

How not to prepare your home for a photo shoot

‘Artistic directors’ must not be allowed to rearrange your furniture or add to your natural surroundings

Why lift engineers have got it wrong

Horizontal buttons would satisfy normal people of average height, giants, dwarfs and chairpersons

Car door etiquette and my driver of 30 years

He has certainly never got out of the car to open the door for me, if only because he is very well-built and takes forever to shift

Rise of the smartphone zombie

Dinner is now an assembly of family members talking silently among themselves individually

Why I’m not a fruitcake

The only response when confronted by these pieces of walking toast is to pretend not to notice

Legal highs and peaceful meals

Clarke’s in London was the first restaurant I took my future wife, precisely because I knew it was a quiet place to eat

At your convenience: urinals as art

The Dutch-designed urinal ‘Kisses!’ resembles an open mouth and is a little vulgar to be installed at home

. . . and a partridge in a 2CV

I usually find the whole exercise rather boring, and am particularly irritated by contrived screams of ‘wow’

And on the menu today . . . ear plugs

I always choose to eat at restaurants that have carpets so I can hear myself think and have a reasonable conversation

Why I watch ‘The X Factor’

It is inexplicably hypnotic and has become a mindless passive pastime when I am not reading Ovid

Americans and the ‘Downton’ factor

Most of Manhattan ground to a halt whenever a new episode of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ was broadcast

Modern technology leaves me app-solutely baffled

I have resisted the iPhone because my fat fingers can’t cope with the lettering on a touchscreen

Highly exercised about gyms

At a cocktail party: spit out olive stones into your palm, and then circulate the room with happy swinging arms

Best of 2014 - Where are the best car designers?

The Japanese don’t, alas, have a clue about the design of the body. But they are supreme at gadgets

Best keep it pure and symbol in the home

What was in the study? Framed instructions on Masonic handshakes? Nooses dangling from the ceiling?


David TangDavid Tang, the FT's Agony Uncle, answers readers' questions about property, interiors, architecture and gardens although he often strays beyond his remit to debate concerns about everything from etiquette to grammar.

Tang is the entrepreneur who founded China Tang and iCorrect, and he has homes principally in Hong Kong, mainland China, London and Essex .

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