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Words to the Wise: favourite quotes from our January 17 edition

PUBLISHED: 13:02 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:41 07 September 2010

IT must have been terrifying being cut off from the outside world in the middle of nowhere with their daughter and grandchildren and the very strong possibility they would all die. They wouldn t eat anything brought into the house in case it was poisoned

IT must have been terrifying being cut off from the outside world in the middle of nowhere with their daughter and grandchildren and the very strong possibility they would all die. They wouldn't eat anything brought into the house in case it was poisoned and what saved them emotionally was discovering an old radio under the bed that they tuned into the World Service.

Playwright Penny Gold has spun a tense political thriller from the stand-off that ended with the Gorbachevs' safe return to Moscow.

She read some of my poems and wanted me to publish them. Then one day she just gave me £1,000 in cash for me to have them published.

George Eugeniou, founder of Theatro Technis, pays tribute to Francis Harper an old-fashioned benefactor who died at 81.

The first time I left, I was kicked out. The second time it was a deliberate decision. I proved I could get back but almost as soon as I did I realised I had lost the oomph it needed. In opposition the stress was great but the rewards were zero. It was a daily struggle for basic credibility. I'm happy to be out.

Michael Portillo tells features editor Bridget Galton about the joys of discovering a life after politics. Hear him at Regent's College's Speakers in the Park series on Monday night.

Service was smooth as silk. Silver chargers lifted as soon as we'd ordered, surplus glasses gone, a jug of water provided without so much as a raised eyebrow. Why can't it always be like this?

Restaurant critic Victoria Prever, mightily impressed by the service at a certain West Hampstead eatery.

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