Low life

How not to fish

21 May 2022 9:00 am

After two nights at Le Grau-du-Roi (the King’s Pond) and a night spent within the medieval walls of Aigues-Mortes (Stagnant…

In the footsteps of Hemingway

14 May 2022 9:00 am

‘They were living at le Grau du Roi then and the hotel was on a canal that ran from the…

How a May Day car-boot sale gave me back my optimism

7 May 2022 9:00 am

So that’s it. Is a third world war possible? It’s already begun, opined a retired US general in the newspaper.…

The call of opium-based analgesics and introspection

30 April 2022 9:00 am

On the morning of my last day in England, I drew back a curtain and there in the garden, browsing…

The nature of luck

23 April 2022 9:00 am

I was walking across a fallow field to the pub with my two grandsons. ‘What’s this?’ said my 11-year-old Oscar,…

My sojourn in the Test Valley

16 April 2022 9:00 am

After north Cornwall I came to the Test Valley, I think. That is what it says on the council vans…

Modern capitalism has failed my son

9 April 2022 9:00 am

A light was on in the caravan site office so I went over to try and buy a gas canister.…

Elegy in a country churchyard

2 April 2022 9:00 am

‘I love this old watering can,’ said my sister, sprinkling the miniature rose. ‘Though I do worry about soaking Mum.…

The call of a blackbird’s full-throated song

26 March 2022 9:00 am

Speaking pretty good English, Dr Tayeb came straight to the point. Was I eligible for the ground breaking new cancer…

The shadowy charisma of the Mater Dei sisters

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Catriona has a commission to paint the 17th-century façade of the chapel of St Joseph’s. She’d made a start when…

The joy of wigs

12 March 2022 9:00 am

I thought, or anyway hoped, that once I’d finished the chemotherapy I would spring back to vitality. Seven weeks on…

My oncologist has a new weapon in his arsenal

5 March 2022 9:00 am

‘We’re at war!’ said the taxi man as I installed myself for the long drive to Marseille. I put a…

The joy of French car boot sales

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Every Saturday morning Michael rises at four and drives down to the Côte d’Azur to the Magic World car boot…

My existential crisis was straight out the terrible twos’ playbook

19 February 2022 9:00 am

Early on St Valentines Day I walked down to the car park where the raindrops were knocking off the young…

The healing power of medieval austerity

12 February 2022 9:00 am

Eighty yards west of the high terrace where I’ve sat for three weeks recuperating is a hospice built for Napoleon’s…

The joy of the Great War memoir

5 February 2022 9:00 am

Harley Granville-Barker, actor, director, playwright, manager and critic, was a pasha of the Edwardian London stage. As a director, his…

It’s my ninth – and final – chemotherapy session

29 January 2022 9:00 am

‘Sorry I’m late,’ I said to the big unit stationed behind her computer. She’s the chief, this one. She shows…

The farcical world of the Sharon’s Ex-Boyfriends Club

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Sharon told me once that the best sex she’d ever had was with Tom in the town public conveniences, bathed…

The magic of champagne

15 January 2022 9:00 am

The four portraits of four siblings that Catriona had painted from their photographs over four months were framed, hung and…

Low life

8 January 2022 9:00 am

I listed for Catriona the reasons why I did not want to go out to dinner that evening at the…

Would my scan results be a death sentence?

18 December 2021 9:00 am

At the desk I gave my name and showed my Covid vaccination pass and the woman told me to take…

A hidden side of the Somme

11 December 2021 9:00 am

Noticing via this Low Life column that I had trench fever, the Western Front Association treated me to a year’s…

French kissing with the French

4 December 2021 9:00 am

Every year Vernon celebrates the gathering in and pressing of his olive harvest by inviting friends to a ceremony at…

The joy of French hospital food

27 November 2021 9:00 am

After checking me in, the receptionist, who was wearing an overcoat, said: ‘There is no heating in the hotel. The…

My moment of madness in the opticians

20 November 2021 9:00 am

Foolishly I chose new specs in the village optician’s after a long lunch: a rather outré design that I might…