Notes on…

Glory days: Charlotte Rampling at the lido in 1965

Ruislip Lido

29 April 2017 9:00 am

Most mornings, if I’m not too hung-over, I go for a run around Ruislip Lido — a mile there, through…

‘The tightest topographic tangle in the world’

The bewildering, chaotic beauty of Genoa

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Some say Genoa takes its name from Janus, the two-faced god of time and doorways. Perhaps. What’s certain is the…

Elegant and gilded: the Everyman in Cheltenham

Frank Matcham

15 April 2017 8:00 am

Go inside the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, preferably when it is empty. Look round. Look up. And there it is, with…

Spread the news – it’s huge in Japan

Notes on... marmalade

8 April 2017 9:00 am

Marmalade’s had a rough old time of it lately. A recent report in the Telegraph declared it is dying out;…

Now with relatively little witchcraft: North Berwick

Witchcraft trials, extinct volcanoes — and the best place to live

1 April 2017 9:00 am

My home town is better than yours. Don’t take my word for it. This month North Berwick was crowned ‘best…

Party time... blossoms at Himeji Castle in Japan

Let’s cherish the cherry blossom: its fleeting beauty is like life itself

25 March 2017 9:00 am

In what I like to think of as The Spectator’s back garden — most people call it St James’s Park…

We all love a winner: T.E. Lawrence

Will the tide ever turn on Lawrence of Arabia?

18 March 2017 9:00 am

The centenary of General Allenby’s capture of Jerusalem falls later this year. On 11 December 1917, the commander-in-chief of Britain’s…

The Suffolk side of the Stour

The beauty and heartbreak of Haywain country

11 March 2017 9:00 am

You’ve already seen a picture of the Essex-Suffolk border. Assuming you’ve seen Constable’s ‘The Haywain’, that is: the Stour (the…

The Irish Jewish museum in Dublin

Dublin’s Jewish museum

4 March 2017 9:00 am

I love small museums, and the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin is a little gem, located in the neighbourhood once…

Good beer, cheap

The wonder of Wetherspoons

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Of all the stories I’ve heard about the fallout from Brexit — families divided, work jeopardised, friendships ended — the…

Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’: more than 300 figures, including a panther-like Eve

Why Auguste Rodin preferred to sculpt women who couldn’t sit still

18 February 2017 9:00 am

The girl who posed for Auguste Rodin’s figure of Eve on the ‘Gates of Hell’ was, the sculptor said, a…

Love unflinching: every child should know it

Why every child should know a dog

11 February 2017 9:00 am

Henry, our springer spaniel, has died, suddenly and prematurely. With the passing weeks, we are becoming accustomed to the strange…

A storm brewing over Hill Hill Hill

The magic and strangeness of British placenames

4 February 2017 9:00 am

British placenames are so good you can read the map for entertainment rather than navigation. Hardington Mande-ville, Bradford Peverell, Carlton…

The badge of an all-transcending fellowship

Corduroy

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Every Christmas, I ask my loved ones for at least two pairs of corduroy trousers. Off with a sigh tramps…

Going off-piste: some people just can’t wait

In praise of late-season skiing

21 January 2017 9:00 am

There’s trouble brewing in the Alps. Skiers arriving in the mountains over Christmas were greeted, not by snow-clad chalets and…

Let someone else do the polishing

Why I turned down two free cars

14 January 2017 9:00 am

On two occasions, sainted members of my family have offered me a car for nothing. Both times, I turned them…

‘Pub owners are particularly keen on quizzes, because quiz teams drink an awful lot’

How pub quizzes became normal

7 January 2017 9:00 am

For more than 20 years now, I have been trudging up the hill to the Prince of Wales in Highgate…

Bizarre marriage: Lord Byron’s wife Annabella

Stay in the mansion where Lord Byron met his wife

31 December 2016 9:00 am

I’m standing in milady’s boudoir, a room which would have delighted Liberace. Here, nothing is de trop and everything is…

She should have stuck to the vodka

A hangover survival guide

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Although drinking excessive levels of alcohol is up there with Olympic cycling and democracy as things the British excel at,…

‘Hello… can you put Nigel Slater on the line?’

The Princess and the Pea? I know just how she feels

3 December 2016 9:00 am

Have you, on hearing the story of the princess who felt a pea through 40 feather mattresses, ever thought that…

A visitor to Atlantis: Frank Zappa

Zurich’s hidden rock’n’roll side

26 November 2016 9:00 am

On the green edge of Zurich, where this neat and tidy city melts into neat and tidy countryside, an icon…

Ruby Walsh riding Al Ferof at Cheltenham

Put away your silly hat, and discover the joys of jump racing

19 November 2016 9:00 am

‘A more thrilling, uplifting, glorious way of living has yet to be invented,’ the jockey John Francome said of National…

The library photographed in 1958

The north London library that helped create the Russian Revolution

12 November 2016 9:00 am

There’s a small corner of Clerkenwell where the communist dream never died. The Marx Memorial Library has been in its…

Pumpkins and Trumpkins: autumn in California

5 November 2016 9:00 am

The mood in California was apologetic. Most people we met seemed embarrassed that their country’s dirty laundry was being aired…

Don’t whistle: Burlington Arcade

The two people allowed to whistle in Burlington Arcade

29 October 2016 9:00 am

It all began with oysters. Londoners used to eat them as they walked along, throwing away the shells much as…