Low life

My future hangs on the result of this blood test

16 January 2021 9:00 am

A new year and another round of medical treatments in the French health system. On Saturday morning, needing a blood…

In praise of nuns

9 January 2021 9:00 am

Although I was ten minutes early, Vernon was there ahead of me, framed in the ancient chapel doorway, chatting up…

The magic of Anthony Powell

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Every few years I’ve picked up one or other of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time series…

What French women want

12 December 2020 9:00 am

Considering the subject of compatibility, experienced British expats in France maintain that a French man and an English woman might…

I found a confused elderly man in my bedroom

5 December 2020 9:00 am

There are several cave houses built into the cliff. Ours is the highest and can be reached only by a…

‘Bonjour, monsieur! Douleur?’: My night in a French hospital

28 November 2020 9:00 am

I regained consciousness on a trolley in a recovery ward. A masked porter wheeled me from there back to my…

My neighbour’s dinner party was a near-death experience

21 November 2020 9:00 am

At dawn, starving, I drove to a commercial laboratory in the town centre where five phials of blood were taken…

I was the only Trump supporter among the olive-pickers

14 November 2020 9:00 am

We bums find ourselves sought after at this time of year to lend a hand with the olive harvest. So…

The joy of red wine

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Everything is happening so fast. First we were put under a night curfew. A few days later M. Macron announced…

We’ve gone from summer to winter in the course of an afternoon

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Wearing shorts last week in a mid-October heatwave, having worn shorts continuously since March, Les Murray’s poem ‘The Dream of…

The generosity of French doctors

24 October 2020 9:00 am

My last NHS scan showed a shadow on a rib. The scan report couldn’t decide between a new cancer metastasis…

From half a shelf to a library: my life in books

17 October 2020 9:00 am

‘Yes, I will have a coffee,’ said the van driver. He’d driven down to the south of France from Devon.…

How I won €160 by mistake

10 October 2020 9:00 am

My French friend André speaks perfect English and is the kindest of men. After reading last week about my futile…

French gambling is a mystery to me

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Feeling oddly confident, clairvoyant even, I entered a bar to place a bet on Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.…

Is my phobia of upmarket restaurants misplaced?

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Scotching my bright idea of a stiff gin for Dutch courage in the bar across the road, Catriona bounded straight…

Why French car-boot sales are good for my mental health

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Hairpin bends in a stony forest. Downhill. Steep, then steeper. Smooth frictionless tarmac. I’ve got the car barely under control.…

The pleasures — and pain — of dog-walking

12 September 2020 9:00 am

The old dog was in a companionable frame of mind and she trotted along at my side, glancing up now…

The A272 is a relic of the golden age of motoring

5 September 2020 9:00 am

In France I own a dented old Mercedes and in England a dented old Mitsubishi Carina. The Mercedes is parked…

How to seduce a Border Force officer

29 August 2020 9:00 am

There was only a handful of us arriving at Bristol on flight 6114 from Nice. Oscar and I had the…

Bad news from my oncologist didn’t spoil my joyous reunion with my grandson

22 August 2020 9:00 am

The Moulinards had inhabited the old stone hilltop house for centuries, ekeing out a hard living among the sun-baked boulders.…

Would this Marseille-bound flight be the death of me?

15 August 2020 9:00 am

‘There’s no need to wipe down your tray table,’ screeched Heidi, chief steward of the ‘amazing team you have looking…

A lament for the foreign correspondent’s house – and his hospitality

8 August 2020 9:00 am

Provence-Alpes-Côte D’Azur Until January the foreign correspondent lived in a late-18th-century house with a vineyard, olive grove and vegetable garden…

How to survive a heatwave

1 August 2020 9:00 am

Provence-Alpes-Côte D’Azur   A burning ball appears over the brow of the hill at seven o’clock every morning and then…

Jam and Opium on the Somme

25 July 2020 9:00 am

Phone calls aside, the only human contact I had on my ten-day Somme battlefield tour was with the lady who…

The beauty of military cemeteries

18 July 2020 9:00 am

They are starting to cut the corn. But apart from combine harvesters and tractors, the roads up here on the…