Low life

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…

My Great War obsession

11 July 2020 9:00 am

Bernafay Wood B&B, Somme, France I came up on the TGV yesterday from the Midi to northern France and it…

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…