Low life

A foretaste of Frexit

22 September 2018 9:00 am

Moving day. The contents of a hillside shack to be moved four miles to a cave house perched high on…

Back from the brink

15 September 2018 9:00 am

The long table was set out under four beautifully pollarded plane trees festooned with coloured lanterns and red balloons. Twenty…

For the love of gin

8 September 2018 9:00 am

I’d missed the train, and the next was due in 45 minutes, so I popped into the nearby salon for…

What would Oscar tell his dad first about our eventful fortnight in the south of France?

1 September 2018 9:00 am

I was present in the room when Oscar encountered his father for the first time since returning from his fortnight…

A spiritual journey to see some very expensive paintings

25 August 2018 9:00 am

The Villa Carnignac art gallery is located on a Mediterranean island off the French Riviera called Porquerolles. Purpose-built to show…

Why the kindness of strangers trumps a pagan festival

18 August 2018 9:00 am

The entire Alpine village, contemptuously dismissed recently in an online tourist guide as a nondescript centre of old peasants and…

How to survive a French heatwave

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Me in a black polo-neck jumper looking sour; Oscar wearing a floppy hat; her youngest daughter nude and stooping to…

Confessions of a cave-dweller continued

4 August 2018 9:00 am

The cave house next to ours is let out to weekly renters. A green-eyed German with a ponytail came out…

At 62, I’m looking for a hole in a rock

28 July 2018 9:00 am

Towering above this medieval French village is dun-coloured cliff of volcanic rock, dramatically floodlit at night, topped by two ancient…

Portrait of a seven-year-old state-run child

21 July 2018 9:00 am

Saturday morning. Quarter to 12. Sit-down fish and chips at the Silver Grill: me, Oscar and Oscar’s cousin Atticus. Atticus…

The anatomy of a Spectator summer party

14 July 2018 9:00 am

I flew from Marseille to Gatwick, rode the Gatwick Express to Victoria, and walked down the thoroughfare of Victoria Street…

Up close with the Rolling Stones

7 July 2018 9:00 am

At 7 p.m., panting, I knocked on the door of room 201 of the Hotel InterContinental, Marseille, expecting it to…

Why I was proud to be a dustman

30 June 2018 9:00 am

I heard the last and final call for flight 6114 to Nice while shuffling forward in the unexpectedly long queue…

Cancer? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Homesick for England, family and friends, I flew back, and the next day went for a long walk with my…

Donald Hankey: a remarkable – and neglected – English voice

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Last year the BBC radio drama department received 3,797 scripts from hopeful authors, of which just 33 were recommended to…

Why did a Ukrainian oligarch invite me to his party in Paris, and pay for me to get there?

9 June 2018 9:00 am

On Monday night I went to a party at the Crazy Horse nightclub in Paris thrown by the oligarch Vitaly…

Was our Airbnb host a closet toreador?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

We were standing in the tiny hall: me, Catriona, Annette and her toy Yorkshire terrier, Ahmed. It was our first…

Catriona’s first bullfight – but would it be her last?

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Six Partido de Resina (formerly Pablo Romero) bulls for Rafaelillo, Thomas Dufau and Juan Leal. The first corrida of the…

Will LSD cure my Brexit obsession?

19 May 2018 9:00 am

An 87-year-old friend, a former doctor, has been urging me for some while to have a look at the latest…

The critics may have liked The Death of Stalin but the French certainly don’t

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Should I or shouldn’t I go and see The Death of Stalin, showing at the French village cinema last Sunday…

On giving and taking offence

5 May 2018 9:00 am

‘Slight prick,’ she said. The nurses all say that before they slide the needle in the upstanding vein in the…

Knife skills for eight-year-olds

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Pig’s trotters. Lamb’s feet stuffed with their brains. Flayed wild rabbits, all sinew, muscle and eyeballs. Nude chickens with flopping…

Brexit for eight-year-olds

21 April 2018 9:00 am

A week ago I plucked my eight-year-old grandson Oscar from the bosom of his rumbustious young family and took him…

I’ve developed a fascination for anti-terrorist security officers

14 April 2018 9:00 am

A pair of anti-terrorism officers watched us check through into the boarding lounge. They stood behind the easyJet woman and…

I try to cut the hypocrisy when speaking to my boy – but it’s tough sometimes

7 April 2018 9:00 am

My boy rang the other night. He said he and his wife had bought tickets to see Ed Sheeran at…