Mark Palmer rss

Mario Balotelli (Photo: Jamie McDonald/Getty)

I've loved football for decades. Now I dread the start of the season

8 August 2015

What a terrific summer of sport it’s been: a wonderful Wimbledon, a rollicking Royal Ascot, an absorbing Ashes series that still has the best part of two Tests to go.… Read more


Letter from Cuba: The tourists are coming – but don’t expect Walmart just yet

4 April 2015

Sloppy Joe’s — which starred in the film of Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana — was always likely to wither on the post-revolution vine. As the decadent hangout of… Read more

Churchill returns to Harrow, his alma mater, in 1960

Why you (maybe) shouldn't skip that reunion

14 March 2015

Thank goodness for name badges. There comes a time when they are indispensable — and none more so than at school reunions. Big lettering on the badges helps, too. It… Read more


Discover the blissful peace of Laos

25 October 2014

There’s a company I came across the other day called Value Added Travel. And despite the horrible name, it seems to be doing good business — which got me thinking.… Read more


Great masters

6 September 2014

Frankly, I wasn’t a great success at school — although I like to think it was more a case of peaking at prep school, where I was captain of football,… Read more

Michael Owen

I'm sick of pretending not to care about the World Cup. Come on England!

14 June 2014

World Cup fever has arrived. Every morning on the way to work, more little plastic flags of St George flutter from white vans or, in my case, from the window… Read more

View of Antibes

My mother's passport to the Antibes good life

3 May 2014

My mother always said she wanted to ‘die tidy’. But I never imagined she would file everything away quite so neatly as she did. One drawer in her desk was… Read more


Warning: upspeak can wreck your career

15 February 2014

A few weeks ago, I accompanied my daughter to an Open Day at Roehampton College, where she is hoping to start a teacher training course in September. I enjoyed it… Read more


Friends made at prep school - and kept for life - are worth paying for

7 September 2013

Some years ago (well, nearly ten if you must know), I gave a dinner to mark my undistinguished half-century. Nothing grand — but a convivial gathering of ten men and… Read more

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In defence of having no opinion

29 June 2013

‘Where do you stand on Syria?’ asked my stepson. Tricky one. Clearly, the Assad regime is loathsome and the West should exert more pressure to end the bloodbath, but on… Read more

Rocamadour, in the Dordogne valley

Notes on…The Charm of the Dordogne

25 May 2013

It’s only 150 years since a toff was roasted in the remote Dordogne village of Hautefaye. The poor soul was a French aristocrat resented by the locals. Perhaps he was… Read more

The old ways: family skiing in Switzerland, 1961

Downhill for generations

17 November 2012

My 22-year-old daughter is feeling a little low. Me, too, actually. I’ve just told her there aren’t enough pennies in the coffers to go skiing this season — just as… Read more


Holidays from hell

29 September 2012

Everyone thinks travel writing is a doddle. You soak up the sun for a couple of weeks and when you get home the words pour forth, dazzling the reader with… Read more


The pecking order

30 October 2010

Every now and again you read about ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ — a curious affliction suffered by parents who are sad that their children have left home. It sounds like heaven… Read more


A social pariah in the shires

23 June 2010

We like our little cottage in a pretty Wiltshire village on the River Kennet — and we just hope the village likes us. It’s hard to tell. ‘I see you’ve… Read more

Rock the kasbah

4 June 2008

Hats off to Richard Branson’s mum. If it wasn’t for the formidable Mrs B, most of us wouldn’t be able to stay at Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, and that would… Read more

Licence to thrill

23 January 2008

‘Well done, mate, nice one,’ says a man on the way to work as my Aston Martin DB9 rolls off a giant transporter outside my house at 8 a.m. on… Read more


Heel thyself

31 October 2007

I am buying a pair of shoes. And this is something I have never done before. Not really. Not at a Savile Row tailors where the shop assistant asks you… Read more

Piste off

27 December 2006

We all have our ski chalet horrors. Mine came while staying in the swanky French resort of Megève in the mid-1980s and it put me off the whole caper for… Read more

A very secret Santa

13 December 2006

‘I’ve already spent £500 and I don’t even like shopping,’ says Jane Scott. ‘But I suppose that’s half the point of it.’ I suppose so. Better to spend money you’ve… Read more

‘We don’t do burglary’

17 May 2003

I like my Vespa. In fact, I can’t think of anything that has improved the quality of my life in London more in the last couple of years than my… Read more