Notes on…

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…

Even the owl in my garden is self-isolating

9 May 2020 9:00 am

My tawny owl has been self-isolating. I say mine but in truth she chose the nest box in my neighbour’s…

What do your lockdown slippers say about you?

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Tartan, monogram, moccasin, clog. What do your slippers say about you? Trick us all you like with your office Manolos,…

Why beards of convenience are a bad idea

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

Viewers of the BBC News channel, now that Zoom shows talking heads in their own homes, want before anything to…

Is this the end of the wine bottle?

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Picture the world before the invention of the bottle: if you wanted a nice glass of claret at home, you’d…

I’m walking round Britain – in my back garden

11 April 2020 9:00 am

What’s the best way to keep in shape during the lockdown? That’s the First World problem I’ve been using to…

The oddest thing people are stockpiling? Hens

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Is there nothing people won’t panic-buy during this crisis? Having stripped shelves of food and toilet roll, shoppers are now…

How to work from home (according to Churchill, Einstein and Napoleon)

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Working from home has been on the rise for years. No one expected the latest surge to happen in the…

We’ve been told not to go to pubs – so why are they full?

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Pubs are fascinating at the moment. On the day that the Prime Minister advised us not to attend them, I…

No blues, just reds and whites: the Oxford vs Cambridge wine-tasting

14 March 2020 9:00 am

The cellar room is almost silent save for the sound of slurping and spitting and the odd gentle sigh. One…

Is there any better place for an EU-subsidised arts festival than Galway?

7 March 2020 9:00 am

I was still digesting my delicious breakfast (kippers, poached eggs and soda bread — all local) when the sad news…

‘Desolate, despairing and awful’: Britain’s uninhabitable island

29 February 2020 9:00 am

In 1978, an invitation was sent to some 200 members of Oxford’s Dangerous Sports Club, which simply read: ‘Tea, Rockall,…

How political is your bread board?

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

It’s not known which inspired Victorian first had the idea to take a chopping block and carve it into a…

The fight to save G. K. Chesterton’s home from demolition

15 February 2020 9:00 am

It’s a quiet Wednesday afternoon in Britain’s most expensive market town, and there’s a sense of foreboding in the air.…

Is Monopoly feminist?

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

I’ve been playing a lot of Monopoly recently. My son got his first grown-up set for Christmas and, even after…

Why does Big Ben bong on the radio before it does in real life?

1 February 2020 9:00 am

The debate over whether Big Ben should bong to mark Brexit isn’t the first time the famous bell has caused…

Will Kent conquer Champagne?

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Driving home through Kent the other day, I was struck by how much the topography has changed. When I was…