Notes on…

The political power of America’s First Dogs

16 January 2021 9:00 am

From the moment Donald Trump’s presidency began, he was lacking something. But Joe Biden is about to make up for…

How to be a hermit

9 January 2021 9:00 am

At a time when so many of us are experiencing some measure of isolation, it is hard to fathom the…

The many uses of frankincense and myrrh

19 December 2020 9:00 am

‘And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down,…

Mothing is a serious business

12 December 2020 9:00 am

As darkness falls, a group of mainly middle-aged men set up traps of various shapes and sizes — some sophisticated…

The traditional cricket tea is under threat

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Cricket is not renowned for embracing change. The introduction of the middle stump, overarm bowling and Kevin Pietersen were all…

Robins have earned their cultural perch on Christmas cards

28 November 2020 9:00 am

At the risk of sounding like Sid James in some late period Carry On, I currently have two birds on…

Who decides what’s allowed on a gravestone?

21 November 2020 9:00 am

A parishioner in West Yorkshire has been allowed to put an inscription in Chinese on a relative’s gravestone. ‘There is…

The rise and fall of mink

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Mink keeps you warm. That’s a most acceptable bonus, but its prime function is status. This week, however, the focus…

How political is your fruit and veg?

7 November 2020 9:00 am

I recently bought some quinces in our local farmshop as part of my new policy of investing heavily in right-wing…

The haunting stories of Britain’s ‘bog bodies’

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Some believe that All Hallows’ Eve is adopted from a much older Celtic holiday, Samhain, that marked the change from…

The joy of drinking alone

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Thanks to a combination of night-time curfews, social-distancing rules, pubs closing, restaurants failing, the ‘rule of six’ and compulsory mask-wearing,…

Winkles

17 October 2020 9:00 am

For the first time in 30-odd years, many Brits have started eating winkles again. Unable to holiday abroad this summer,…

Has Covid killed off Punch and Judy?

10 October 2020 9:00 am

They’re one of the country’s most famous married couples. You just need to spot his colourful jester outfit and the…

Box clever: the surprising history of signal boxes

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Petersfield signal box is in the wrong place. Or at least it is now. When it was built in the…

Why crowds are so pleasing

26 September 2020 9:00 am

London, writes Dr Watson in the first Sherlock Holmes story, is ‘that great cesspool into which all the loungers and…

Could Trump save the capital letter?

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Irrespective of whether Donald Trump ends up being a two-term president, surely no modern political figure has done more to…

From fist-bumps to bows: how to avoid shaking hands

12 September 2020 9:00 am

The government wants us back in the office — catching trains, buying sandwiches and actually seeing colleagues and clients rather…

The bliss of proper bread

5 September 2020 9:00 am

I cannot claim the gift of prophecy, but early this year — before lockdown panic-buying and the warnings of a…

The problem with pretty floral face masks

29 August 2020 9:00 am

Now that we must all wear face masks, it is hardly surprising that they have started to become a fashion…

The joy of an illegal rave

22 August 2020 9:00 am

Every time I read that Britain’s anti-coronavirus measures are being jeopardised by a ‘small minority of senseless individuals’ holding illegal…

Why Florence’s ‘wine windows’ are making a comeback

15 August 2020 9:00 am

Stroll around Florence and you’ll notice little ornate openings embedded in the walls of Renaissance palazzos. They look like doorways…

The rise and fall of amusement parks

8 August 2020 9:00 am

August, as usual, will be the busiest month for Britain’s amusement parks — which is odd when you consider that…

The curious history of Britain’s last circus building

1 August 2020 9:00 am

Guess which theatre is the first to open to the paying public post-Covid? Not Lloyd Webber’s London Palladium, where small…

The 747 was the last moment of romance in air travel

25 July 2020 9:00 am

I felt a genuine pang when British Airways announced that it was retiring its fleet of Boeing 747s, the largest…

Mugs game: what does your cup say about you?

18 July 2020 9:00 am

Rishi Sunak found himself in hot water last week, though fortunately it was not too hot. Just the right temperature,…