Lord Mandelson's book, The Third Man, Life At The Heart of New Labour has enjoyed a heady reception in the week since its publication. He has the relieved look of someone who has run a marathon without keeling over, as well he might, since he reveals that he only finished writing two weeks ago. "It only came off the presses the day before the launch," he says. "It was a high-wire act. Now I'm used to living dangerously, flying too close to the sun, but even for me it was a bit of a daredevil project."
For a man with such an orderly allotment, Brian Berelowitz does not hold back on the flowery language: "I'm completely in love with my allotment. It has changed my life. It has given me such unbridled joy, working the earth and tending what I'm growing."
Berelowitz, a landscape gardener by trade, has rented his impressive allotment in Child's Hill, north London, for two years. He is one of the growing number of people turning their back on pre-chopped, plastic-packed vegetables from the supermarket in favour of growing their own.
I am the youngest of four brothers. Denis, the middle one, is five years older than me. The two eldest, Basil and Gerald, were twins, 11 years older. At the outbreak of the Second World War, aged just 17, they volunteered to join the Royal Air Force as aircrew. My father begged them to join something less dangerous, but they were adamant. If everyone chose the less risky options, there would be no RAF, they said. Moreover, as Jews, they felt strongly that it was their duty to risk their lives for their country.
'I have a memory of Josh, aged three, at home one day lying on the floor rolling himself in the carpet. Our second baby was screaming and I was just sitting there crying."
Joshua Harris, now aged 21, has severe autism. He cannot speak. He has obsessive and unusual habits and he requires full-time care. At the age of 10, he had the IQ of a two-year-old. For his mother Carole, a retired GP from Manchester, coping with his condition would have been even more traumatic had it not been for the help she received from her neighbours in the Jewish area of Broughton Park.
Every time a child gets a place in a Jewish school, he or she should feel grateful that the picture frame business has never been better. At a time when children attend synagogues as never before so that they can compete for a place at a Jewish school, their parents ought to mutter a few words of thanks to the man whose portrait adorns many of those educational institutions.
'I started hearing the voices when I was very young - there are always four or five men in my head, shouting at me,'
I only recognised it as a sign of serious mental illness when I was in my first year of a music degree at Manchester University. I had become depressed and had a complete breakdown when I went home to Weybridge for the summer.
At our Seder this year we had 35 people. Not unusual, you are probably thinking. A little mad, but not unheard of. Well, not if you are living in north-west London, Manchester, Manhattan or Jerusalem. But we are living in Tokyo, a city populated by 13 million people, where the chances of coming across a Jewish person are as likely as meeting someone who has not heard of sushi. Or, so I thought.
BOYS are playing pool, girls are chatting, something’s cooking in the kitchen and there is a lot of noise. It could be any youth club, anywhere in the country. But it is in the heart Manchester’s Moss Side district, the capital of Britain’s guns and gang culture, where, at least according to press reports, children barely out of primary school deliver wraps of heroin on mountain bikes.
'How's the sleep?" This is often the first question people ask the parent of a new baby. They know - particularly if they are parents themselves - how stressful tending to the needs of an infant in the middle of the night can be.
Pregnant pop star Dannii Minogue recently posted a picture of her first baby gift - a babygro emblazoned with the slogan "Sleep is for the weak" across its front - on her Twitter page. She is already gearing herself up for the night-time activities she and her newborn will experience after the birth in July.