The Saturday Miscellany: How to hitch-hike; post festival blues; Anthony Horowitz's bookshelf; Chineasy flashcards


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The Independent Travel

How to hitch-hike

By Simon Calder

We've all been there. You're travelling around, and need to get somewhere, but don't have many readies to hand. What to do? Well, if you play it smartly and safely, hitch-hiking can be an efficient option. Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent, gives his tips:

"Stay safe: choose a sensible place to thumb, where traffic is moving reasonably slowly and where drivers can pull over without causing a hazard for other traffic. The ideal is a roundabout exit with an adjacent lay-by."

"Smile and make eye contact – humans can connect in an instant. But be selective: ignore the family people-carrier and focus on the single driver in a comfortable saloon."

"On a long-distance motorway trip, hop from one service station to the next. You get a more predictable flow of traffic than at junctions, and a freshly replenished driver is more inclined to stop."

Rotating column: Post-festival blues

By Gillian Orr

When you return from a magical place where, for three days, you start drinking as soon as you've brushed your teeth, develop numerous idiotic in-jokes with your nearest and dearest, and even watch a band or two, it can be hard to settle back into normal life.

You can spot the ones suffering from a festival come-down. For the next week they'll cry when informed that their coffee shop is out of soy, and every sentence will start with a variation on, "Well, at Latitude...".

They don't care that the real world has showers, and that they no longer have to subsist solely on over-priced pizza slices. They've got Post-Festival Stress Disorder.

And those who were enjoying something a bit, shall we say, stronger than a gin and tonic, will really be on Struggle Street.

Be gentle with them. But for goodness sake cut off their festival wristband.

Next time: just watch it on the TV?

Micro extract: New world order

"The Hapsburg Empire had been frozen in a state of impending collapse during the 1918 German offensives. For its peoples, the alternatives had at least become clearer. German victory would mean a Dualist empire..."

'Ring of steel' by Alexander Watson (£30, Allen Lane)

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. I believe my friend's ugly shoes are ruining her chances for love. Should I weigh in?

A. Real love makes no distinction between last season's wedges and next season's sandals; though your pal must be as forgiving about a partner's shoes. Expose her to the horrors on Jeans and Sheuxsss Tumblr and ask if she's happy inflicting such pain on others.


Four play: National honours

1. Légion d’honneur (France)

2. Victoria Cross (UK)

3. Medal of honour (USA)

4. Medal for courage (Russia)

*Medal of honour created this day in 1861

Takin' it easy: Wedding planning

By Larry Ryan

I've been to a few lovely weddings recently: they were in different countries so that meant I arrived a day early rather than rolling up just before the sucker began. Being around early presents problems; namely that tasks begin to emerge for willing, helpful or merely visible guests. This is when I (and you, pal) channel the teachings of George Costanza from 'Seinfeld'. The Jack Nicklaus of doing shite-all, he knows the drill: always have something in your hand, he once prescribed, and look irritated or angry, then people assume you're busy. I picked up flowers, scissors, chairs. I maintained a look of studious concentration. The work was getting done.

All Good Things

By Charlotte Philby


Foot work

Inspired by the hippy movement, the latest collaboration from British label YMC and Clarks Originals is a limited-edition moccasin boot with a floral tooling effect on leather (above). £120,


Card tricks

Following the success of her 'Chineasy' book, Shaolan Hsueh has created 'Chineasy: 60 Flashcards' (above) – visual prompts for Chinese words and pronunciation. £12.95,


Herbal high

The Urbio storage unit is perfect for beauty products, stationery, flowers, herbs... They are made from recycled materials with various sized containers that can be added any which way. We like it as a makeshift wall jungle (above). £75,