Low life

Am I about to be usurped by Philippe, our handsome French gardner?

6 April 2019 9:00 am

We have a gardener, Philippe, who comes once a week. He lives in a ruin a little way down the…

I’m making a cave disco in the south of France

30 March 2019 9:00 am

I’ve swapped my carer’s tray in Devon for a barrow and spade halfway up a cliff in the south of…

After ten weeks spent caring for my mother, I had to relearn the art of conversation

23 March 2019 9:00 am

I said my goodbyes and went outside with my trolley bag to wait for the taxi. While waiting, I looked…

Christopher Furlong / Staff

The travesties competing in the Terrier category at Crufts

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Does the BBC suppose that it will convert the public to a belief in equality if it does not, in…

Credit: Sebalos

I hadn’t had a drink in six weeks but that was seven hours, three pubs and a club ago…

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Standing in a messy kitchen at the tendril tip of a county line at three o’clock in the morning, Trev…

Credit: ISO3000

My life as nurse, chief cook and bottle washer for my mother

2 March 2019 9:00 am

My fifth week confined to barracks as nurse, chief cook and bottle washer. I drive to the supermarket about twice…

The strange people who keep a nightly vigil over my mother

23 February 2019 9:00 am

To begin with it was mice. The house was overrun with them. She saw them out of the corner of…

Credit: Photo by Frank Hurley/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

‘I don’t know how ever Jerry stands it’: diary of a world war one artillery man

16 February 2019 9:00 am

My sister’s boyfriend is a solitary man and easily overwhelmed by another’s presence. On his rare visits he flits in…

Oscar is nine, and has largely abandoned speech in favour of gestures and monosyllables

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Just before I left France, Oscar’s mum sent over a photo of Oscar in his classroom at school showing the…

Credit: Carlo107

What Sylvia learned at the constipation clinic

2 February 2019 9:00 am

‘The whole of my life I’ve had difficulty.’ I heard Sylvia say this through the door, which was slightly ajar.…

Credit: duncan1890

When a reader invited me to stay with him in Exmoor estate, how could I refuse?

26 January 2019 9:00 am

My first night back in Blighty, I sat all evening at the kitchen table drinking wine with a charming, courteous…

Credit: graemenicholson

Hell — and heaven – on the French Riviera

19 January 2019 9:00 am

We drove down from the hills to visit friends of friends with a house by the sea and on the…

I ended New Year’s Eve more sober than I started it

12 January 2019 9:00 am

We were eight for dinner on New Year’s Eve: four men and four women with a combined age, I would…

Jeremy Clarke and Baroness Trumpington

From Baroness Trumpington to bad sex: my Christmas party week

5 January 2019 9:00 am

The Airbnb accommodation at Paddington, chez Mohammed, was a fourth-floor room measuring about nine feet by five. As well as…

Why you should never read your own diary

15 December 2018 9:00 am

At the turn of the century, I started a diary. I’ve mostly typed it on old typewriters, bashing out a…

We lost our elderly, dementing French charge

8 December 2018 9:00 am

I entered the cave house carrying groceries and panting from the climb to find an old hippie woman displaying rugs…

‘Yellow Vest’ (gilets jaunes) protesters continue to block French roads in protest against — everything

Only a Leaver would be stupid enough to go to the wrong airport

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Three of us on a cold metal bench waiting for the bus. It’s almost dark. Winter arrived yesterday and we…

It was carnage in our French cave

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Evenings, I sit in a chair facing the cave interior and Catriona lies on the new sofa facing me (and,…

French President Emmanuel Macron during a wreath laying ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2017 during the Armistice Day commemorations marking the end of the first world war

France’s second world war shame

17 November 2018 9:00 am

The monument to this French village’s war dead is a plain white stone block with the head of a grizzled…

Not skunk as we know it – smoking the stuff is bad news

The perils of smoking three-year-old Glaswegian skunk

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Three years ago we were given a bag of skunk, Catriona and I, provenance Glasgow. It was one gigantic dried…

Back to the disappointingly familiar, disappointingly limited wares in the half-dozen shops that close most afternoons and sometimes capriciously all day

40-plus reasons to love and hate France

3 November 2018 9:00 am

I apologised, was gladly granted an indulgence, and on Sunday I packed a small bag and reached into a drawer…

28th October 1914: British soldiers lined up in a narrow trench during World War I. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

My first world war obsession

27 October 2018 9:00 am

My reactionary first world war reading jag continues. The literature is vast, but so is my capacity and fascination. I…

Guns and gin: just another Spectator Wine Club lunch

20 October 2018 9:00 am

East of London the Thames broadens dramatically to a surreal waste of mud and sewage-coloured water lined with shipping-container dumps.…

A pub brawl certainly livened up a boring football match

13 October 2018 9:00 am

I told Oscar to wait outside and I went in and said to the barman: ‘Would it be all right…

The English-Scottish gender divide

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Once the house move was completed, Catriona’s oldest and best Scottish friends, two of them, came to stay for a…