Long life

What my chickens need is a dog

13 September 2014 9:00 am

Of the nine chickens I used to keep here in Northamptonshire only one survived the summer, and it was the…

The war on e-cigarettes is enough to make me give up giving up

6 September 2014 9:00 am

I have been, on and off, a lifelong smoker; but I gave up in January 2009 on the day of…

Wedding receptions make me wonder about the point of marriage

30 August 2014 9:00 am

Back from holiday in Italy, I look out of my kitchen window in Northamptonshire to find the country view blocked…

The Italians are disgusted with our holidaymakers

23 August 2014 9:00 am

As the holidays draw to a close, Italian newspapers have been reporting with perplexity and distaste on the outlandish behaviour…

The word ‘holiday’ has become a political taboo

16 August 2014 9:00 am

It’s August in Tuscany, and the market towns are eerily quiet, presumably because most of their inhabitants are off on…

If you want real stress, move to the country

9 August 2014 9:00 am

It’s much more stressful to live in the country than in a town. There are always threats of one kind…

You can't spin yourself into authenticity – as Ed Miliband is finding out

2 August 2014 9:00 am

For a politician to draw attention to his own deficiencies is a desperate attempt to curry favour with the electorate…

Freedom for my chickens! All it took was a man with a gun

26 July 2014 9:00 am

If I haven’t mentioned my poultry for a while, it’s because the subject has been too depressing. I had been…

Assisted suicide is too close to murder to be legal

19 July 2014 9:00 am

How amazing to have two former Anglican archbishops, George Carey of Canterbury and Desmond Tutu of South Africa, supporting Lord…

I thought paedophiles were rare – but then I read the newspapers

12 July 2014 9:00 am

One problem from which I am confident I don’t suffer is paedophilia. I have always liked picking up babies and…

The profitable delusion shared by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair

5 July 2014 9:00 am

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton must be very happy about how they have fared since leaving political office, for each…

Brave, noble, forgotten – the other side of Italy's second world war

28 June 2014 9:00 am

At the time of the armistice of September 1943, when the kingdom of Italy formally transferred its allegiance from the…

On being fired – and hired – as an editor

21 June 2014 8:00 am

Last week was unusual. At the start of it, I was mooching about in the country in my customary way,…

Young Italians flock to London – for just the same reasons it scares me

14 June 2014 8:00 am

Although I live in the country in Northamptonshire, I go to London often — almost once a week — and…

I wouldn't have accepted Lord Rennard's apology – but then he shouldn't have made it

7 June 2014 9:00 am

Shirley Williams has a point when she says that Lord Rennard’s alleged harassment of four female Lib Dem colleagues was…

Sorry, Tara Erraught, but the age of the fat lady singing is over

31 May 2014 9:00 am

London’s opera critics have been roundly condemned for suggesting that a female singer’s personal appearance could make her unsuitable for…

Why do consultants write such scary, incomprehensible letters?

24 May 2014 9:00 am

There is a kind of letter designed to bewilder, upset and possibly terrify its recipient, and this is the standard…

Why Glyndebourne’s George Christie always cut his own hair

17 May 2014 9:00 am

One curious fact about Sir George Christie, who died last week, aged 79, was that he always cut his own…

Would the urine of an eight-year-old protect my chickens?

10 May 2014 9:00 am

I was predicting in a recent column that the arrival of spring would be bad news for my poultry, and…

The rich have given up their freedom

3 May 2014 9:00 am

The appointment of Sajid Javid as the new Secretary of State for Culture has been much criticised on the grounds…

As a nation of voyeurs, we don’t cook but watch TV cookery programmes instead

26 April 2014 9:00 am

When I got married 50 years ago, my wife and I had somehow acquired a little cookery book called Cooking…

Our first kills of spring

19 April 2014 9:00 am

The arrival of spring is not an unmitigated joy. The warmth is nice, of course, as are the fresh leaves…

Compassion is fashionable again. Thank the Pope

12 April 2014 9:00 am

There was something poignant about the decision of L’Wren Scott, Mick Jagger’s American girlfriend, who committed suicide in New York…

America's crazy war on old pianos

5 April 2014 9:00 am

More than 20 years ago, when I was living in New York, I wrote an article about the mutilation by…

I'll have to give up Waitrose. It's too exciting for me now

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Waitrose in Towcester has closed down for a week to make what it describes as ‘a final few touches’ to…