Notes on…

Why Kent is being bulldozed by buffalo

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Buffalo are now living in the fens of Kent. Why – have we slipped into the metaverse of Lewis Carroll?…

The romance and rebellion of an Iranian picnic

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Iranians adore a picnic. During the country’s most ancient festival, Nowruz, the Persian new year, they brandish baskets of food…

Getting a fringe is always a cry for help

30 April 2022 9:00 am

Fringes have in recent years been considered attractive – Bettie Page, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Birkin, Kate Moss – so it…

Thumbs up: why hitchhiking is the best way to travel

23 April 2022 9:00 am

When I first saw Vitaly I thought he was drunk. I was standing outside a petrol station near Fulda, in…

Why violets come into their own at Easter

16 April 2022 9:00 am

The English Rock Garden, the magnum opus of the great gardening writer, horticulturist and plant collector Reginald Farrer, is an…

My love affair with the Wolseley

9 April 2022 9:00 am

I was sitting alone at a small table in the Wolseley, Piccadilly, waiting for my supper and feeling a sense…

Crunch time: how to make the perfect crisp sandwich

2 April 2022 9:00 am

A crisp sandwich is a private and personal endeavour. In my experience (and I have considerable experience in this particular…

How Mother’s Day became big business

26 March 2022 9:00 am

As ever, the Romans got there first. Their version of Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day was the feast of Juno…

In defence of slugs: gastropods are seriously misunderstood

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Slugs and snails are the bane of every gardener who tries to grow strawberries, leafy and tuberous vegetables, flowering bulbs…

The cult of the convertible

12 March 2022 9:00 am

The earliest cars were technically convertibles because the technology to fit a roof did not exist. Now the dedicated retractable…

The prickly truth: hedgehogs face a struggle to survive

5 March 2022 9:00 am

No wild animal is closer to the hearts of the British than the hedgehog. In poll after poll, it has…

How sausage dogs were weaponised in the war

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Short of leg but big on personality, the eccentrically shaped dachshund is one of Britain’s most beloved pets. Originally known…

The rise and fall of whistling

19 February 2022 9:00 am

There was, at least until recently, an old sign round the back of the Savoy banning whistling by staff or…

The controversial side of carp fishing

12 February 2022 9:00 am

All anglers are obsessive, but carp fishers are the most single-minded of all. They think nothing of spending weeks on…

The cult of the daffodil

5 February 2022 9:00 am

Spring is the season of supermarket daffodils. At a pound a bunch, you can deck out your home like Elton…

The rise and fall of Britain’s fur trade

29 January 2022 9:00 am

We in Britain have long been much more squeamish about fur than other Europeans. I still well remember the snide…

The secrets of chicken soup

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Catherine Chicken is sickly. She has swollen up like a barrage balloon with an evil face and dinosaur feet. She…

The bittersweet truth about homemade marmalade

15 January 2022 9:00 am

The spectrum of ‘bestowing homemade gifts on one’s friends’ ranges from giving to foisting. Pure giving is when you make…

Gold

8 January 2022 9:00 am

After taking James Bond hostage, Auric Goldfinger does what all Bond villains do when in a position of power —…

Why do we bother with Christmas trees?

18 December 2021 9:00 am

The closest thing we have to a native Christmas tree is the often broccoli-shaped Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). But the…

Why do we kiss under mistletoe?

11 December 2021 9:00 am

Give us a snog. Pucker up at the Christmas party. Kiss me quick at the Nativity play. Will you be…

The enduring appeal of Baileys

4 December 2021 9:00 am

For many, the first Baileys of the year heralds the start of the festive season; to others, it’s a drink…

The secrets of being a Christmas elf

27 November 2021 9:00 am

I was 19 when I became a Hamleys elf. The closest thing I can compare it to is military service.…

The hellish return of the mullet

20 November 2021 9:00 am

The mullet is back in fashion, which is proof that true evil never dies. What’s more, the trend is being…

How to get drunk on tiramisu

13 November 2021 9:00 am

You can get drunk on tiramisu. I have done it. It takes two portions at least. You drink (I mean…