Notes on…

Originals: Jack Dempsey, left, in his 1919 title fight

Boxer shorts

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Chaps, be honest. Have you achieved nether-region nirvana? Twenty years ago I had reached the summit of underwear style and…

‘Dinant’, by J.M.W. Turner, 1839

Watercolour

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Like many artistically inclined children, I was given a set of Daler Rowney watercolours for my birthday one year. My…

The Surrey hills

5 August 2017 9:00 am

I live in the oldest village in England. How come? Well, in a field below the big house, there is…

The Magnolia Cup: Will the race be to the Swift?

Goodwood

29 July 2017 9:00 am

The South Downs cover 260 sq miles from Hampshire’s Itchen Valley to Eastbourne in East Sussex. Nestled near the southernmost…

The land of lost content – best seen on horseback

Shropshire

22 July 2017 9:00 am

I found the land of lost content last week, west of the Clee Hills in the Shropshire Housman wrote about,…

A lot of Outside: the seafront at Southwold

Southwold Sailors’ Reading Room

15 July 2017 9:00 am

The Southwold Sailors’ Reading Room is a gorgeous bit of Inside. Like any coastal town, Southwold has an awful lot…

The ruined fortress of Peyrepertuse

Cathar country, Carcassonne and cassoulet

8 July 2017 9:00 am

I once spent three months living in the Languedoc, writing my first novel. The highlight was the few days I…

Last picture show: Victory Boogie-Woogie

A century of De Stijl

1 July 2017 9:00 am

It starts as soon as I arrive. In Den Haag Centraal railway station, the kiosks, windows, lift shaft, piano and…

Fine tuned: RCM students practising in the stunning Britten Theatre

The Britten Theatre

24 June 2017 9:00 am

When friends from overseas with the slightest interest in music ask for recommendations about what to see in London, I…

Sheep thrills: holidaying on a working farm

West Middlewick Farm

17 June 2017 9:00 am

In springtime in our family, we always have the same old argument: where should we go on our summer holiday…

The right kind of doorstep: Richmond in 1970

The view from the doorstep

10 June 2017 9:00 am

You have probably been hearing a lot about doorsteps recently. Politicians love to demonstrate how much they care about ordinary,…

Crowning glory: McCaw at Twickenham in 2015

A rugby legend

3 June 2017 9:00 am

‘There’s a chance we’ll meet up with Richie McCaw in Christchurch,’ proffered the PR on our New Zealand press trip.…

A vine romance: now with added sparkle

The vineyards of Kent

27 May 2017 9:00 am

As a wine bore, holidays abroad are a battle with the family to cram in as many vineyard visits as…

The prettiest tourist trail, with added chocolate

Why Theresa May would love Switzerland’s railways

20 May 2017 9:00 am

When Theresa May went off to Switzerland on a walking holiday last August, she said it was the ‘peace and…

Winston Churchill’s favourite dinner guest

Kaspar the Savoy cat

13 May 2017 9:00 am

How to solve the problem of an unlucky 13 people at dinner? Developing a rational mind is the obvious answer,…

‘A spectacle of strength and savage wildness’

Scafell Pike

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Within a couple of miles of England’s deepest point is its highest. Towering a kilometre above the hidden depths of…

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…