Notes on…

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,…

How dangerous are cricket balls?

11 July 2020 9:00 am

The Prime Minister recently blamed the delay in the resumption of amateur cricket on the ball itself, calling it ‘a…

Online chess is the ultimate lockdown sport

4 July 2020 9:00 am

How have you been filling these listless homebound hours we’ve been given by the government? I’ve been frittering them away…

Where’s the fun in football without the fans?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Football is back — but the fans aren’t. Covid means that clubs have to play their games behind closed doors.…

Was Baden-Powell a Nazi sympathiser?

20 June 2020 9:00 am

Police were no match for the Black Lives Matter mob that pulled down a statue of Edward Colston last week…

The festival where Henry VIII and Francis I made their peace

13 June 2020 9:00 am

This week marked 500 years since the beginning of the two-week festival of jousting, feasting and general splendour that came…

Nothing brings people together like a coach holiday

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Amid all the Covid-19 coverage, it’s hardly surprising that the collapse of a coach-tour operator last week didn’t make too…

From ABBA to Pet Shop Boys: how bands got their names

30 May 2020 9:00 am

You wouldn’t have thought that Starbucks’s pricing policy could influence rock history, but that’s what happened. In the early 1990s,…

Bats don’t deserve all this bad publicity

23 May 2020 9:00 am

‘You’d like me to write about bats? I’ve not held one in earnest for years,’ I said, although I did…

Is pasta puttanesca the perfect lockdown dish?

16 May 2020 9:00 am

The lockdown could have been the moment I was waiting for: a chance to make those long, slow recipes whose…