Low life

Nuns, a maquisard and the Devil’s Own Rum: a Provençale pilgrimage

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Avid Spectator reader Mr Brown had endured the very strictest of lockdowns for family health reasons in Tunbridge Wells. Since…

What angry young French men want

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Chatting on the café terrace with my new friends Didier and Emile made me aware that certain political ideas, which…

Is left the new right?

20 June 2020 9:00 am

I took a table on the terrace of the reopened bar and ordered une pression from the waitress. ‘Back to…

My hairdresser cured my depression

13 June 2020 9:00 am

I walked to the salon in fiery sunshine. Gorgeous, zaftig Elody was wearing a short satin dressing gown of silver…

An 11-year-old’s birthday party was hijacked by Brexit

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Saturday night we ate outside next to the floodlit rock face. Four adult guests came puffing up the path and…

We have a communist bar and a fascist bar. If only I could remember which is which

30 May 2020 9:00 am

When I first came to this village, I was told that one of the bars was a ‘communist’ bar and…

Rules for a deconfinement dinner party

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The most visible local landmark is a solitary two-headed Jurassic mountain called Le Bessillon, six miles long and 800 metres…

My first post-lockdown party

16 May 2020 9:00 am

France is divided into a red zone and a green zone. We’re green. Green for go. From this morning we…

In praise of French doctors

9 May 2020 9:00 am

They made a better job of sorting out my waterworks

How the French view their weekly clap for carers

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Once a week we break French emergency law and have a friend round for drinks on the terrace. The terrace…

Vodka, kaolin and morphine: my welcome drinks at The Spectator offices

25 April 2020 9:00 am

In 2001, aged 44, I was hired to write a weekly column for this august paper, and for the first…

Would my success in growing cannabis plants translate to nasturtiums?

18 April 2020 9:00 am

In a cave once used as a stable and now abandoned, I found a wooden crate containing a dozen tiny…

I was relishing the lockdown a week ago, but now I need urgent hospital treatment

11 April 2020 9:00 am

In France the rule for going for a walk stipulates an hour in duration or a kilometre in distance. We…

Had the entire village population been wiped out since last week?

4 April 2020 9:00 am

With my signed and dated laissez-passer in my pocket, I trotted down to the village to see if I could…

I am socially isolating in a cave in France

28 March 2020 9:00 am

This Provençal village clusters around the base of a cliff 300 feet high and a kilometre wide surmounted by two…

My love affair with Hannah Arendt

21 March 2020 9:00 am

The three of us — me, Catriona and her daughter Skye — were having a wash and brush-up before going…

The joy of Xanax

14 March 2020 9:00 am

The greater the enervation, it is said, the greater the appreciation of a work of art. There was no place…

Shrieks, shots and broken china: a visit to my rural French GP

7 March 2020 9:00 am

On a hard chair next to the waiting-room door, I sat for an hour defusing thoughts of my own demise,…

The film that shaped my vision of the world

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Joyce Marriott of Pyrton, Oxford, has written a letter to the Times on the subject of how a person’s imagination…

How to sample your own urine

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

Seven round the table for dinner. Wild mushroom risotto. I was told to sit next to Michael. Good. Michael makes…

How I found salvation in a church in Torquay

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Last Tuesday a Mistral wind blowing across the Bay of Angels jerked the plane all over the shop as it…

Is gluttony no longer a sin?

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

I’ve no interest in food. None. But for the three other journalists on our press trip, eating was a consuming…

The horror of Heathrow

1 February 2020 9:00 am

There are no stairs or escalators to take you up to Terminal 4 from the underground Heathrow Express platform. Beyond…

Whisky and striptease: stories from an old people’s home

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

For the last four years of her long life, this upstairs room and this magnificent sea view belonged to Mrs…

War has broken out between me and my siblings

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Last night I watched a boxed set. Parade’s End is a small box set as box sets go, and quite…