Low life

My image of the young Jeremy Corbyn is not a flattering one

9 November 2019 9:00 am

I found the stone and the key underneath and let myself into the cottage — brr! I immediately made a…

[Photo: John Heseltine / Alamy Stock Photo]

My journey to the heart of prehistoric England

2 November 2019 9:00 am

‘Can I get a taxi around here?’ The man standing behind the counter of the convenience store looked at the…

Friedrich Nietzche [Photo: Roger-Viollet/Shutterstock]

The divine comedy of Friedrich Nietzsche

26 October 2019 9:00 am

I’ve come back to the empty house for the second time in the six weeks since my mother died. The…

The truth behind those Airbnb snaps

19 October 2019 9:00 am

Catriona and I had agreed that a terrace for smoking, eating, drinking and painting was a necessity rather than a…

What had the chambermaid made of my penis vacuum pump?

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Fumbling outside my door in dripping swimming trunks for my room key, I was hailed cheerily by the maid from…

Will mindfulness turn me into a Remainer?

5 October 2019 9:00 am

Mindfulness at our all-inclusive Turkish beach resort began at 11 o’clock. Our mindfulness teacher was a tiny, smiley, flexible-looking woman…

Why Sodom and south Devon are a million miles apart

28 September 2019 9:00 am

We gathered around in the sunshine and watched the coffin being lowered into the freshly dug trench. Stratifications visible on…

[Photo: Lovattpics]

Semi-recluse (me) seeks dilapidated cottage on Dartmoor to rent

21 September 2019 9:00 am

So now I must find somewhere else to put my books and live sometimes. Dartmoor, I thought: one of the…

The woman laid out in the coffin in front of us wasn’t Mum

14 September 2019 9:00 am

The receptionist with brown lipstick showed my son and me into a faultless waiting room, whose centrepiece was a big…

The mysterious ways of the French

7 September 2019 9:00 am

These new tablets that will save or at least prolong my life have unpredictable side effects which only now, a…

Catriona’s accident has made of us minor celebrities in the village

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Three weeks ago Catriona was going to the village shop when a building site security fence fell on her. Wire…

How Captain Mainwaring lightened my mother’s dying days

24 August 2019 9:00 am

On Saturday evening I showered, shaved and, prompted by a strange impulse, put on my going-out clothes. Then I cycled…

Within 24 hours of my positive diagnosis I was back with Catriona in beautiful Brignoles (illustration, 1873)

A day spent in Oncology

17 August 2019 9:00 am

A 20-minute drive through quiet country lanes then suddenly a madcap roundabout and teeming new ring road and finally the…

Credit: mingazitdinov

Do I have cancer in my left eye?

10 August 2019 9:00 am

My luck had to run out one of these fine days. Everybody’s does sooner or later. I’ve had a fantastic…

Dartmoor Prison: nice setting, but only for a visit

A trip to Dartmoor Prison with my grandson and his cousin

3 August 2019 9:00 am

To find oneself in a cast-iron cell in a granite prison on Dartmoor: hard to retain a sense of humour

Evelyn Waugh sat for Henry Lamb in his Poole studio in 1928. We went to the pub where Waugh wrote Decline and Fall – interesting!

A literary lunch that hits an unforeseen buffer

27 July 2019 9:00 am

‘So what are your plans?’ said our gentle, civilised Airbnb host over a tray of tea and cake to welcome…

Italy, in seven hours and five trains

20 July 2019 9:00 am

The train standing at platform 1A had no air-conditioning and the heat was stupefying. Latecomers pressing into the carriage reacted…

Tuscany’s killer climate

13 July 2019 9:00 am

The hotel manager had arranged for me to borrow an Alfa Romeo Spider Duetto two-seater convertible (1982) for the afternoon.…

Credit: Dean Mitchell

Why can’t my mother be allowed to die at home

6 July 2019 9:00 am

As they say: it all happened so quickly that it wasn’t until afterwards. One minute I was bawling at my…

My oncologist is a shining goddess

29 June 2019 9:00 am

The weather forecast was rain, torrential, all day, so I took my anorak. In the hospital car park it was…

Up close and personal with Thomas Hardy

22 June 2019 9:00 am

I walked in out of the rain, dripping, and sat down beside the fire on the primitive high-backed settle. ‘Is…

The joy of my local paper

15 June 2019 9:00 am

As usual I go downstairs at five o’clock in the morning and into the dining room, which now serves as…

Why being poor is always more expensive in the long run

8 June 2019 8:00 am

Of course the varifocals I bought online were a waste of money. When they came in the post and I…

What my mother’s death means for Brexit

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Considerate to the last, she had her order of service arranged in her mind. I sat close with my notebook.…

Banana leaf, wood-effect or knitted? Choosing my mother’s coffin

25 May 2019 9:00 am

The mental fruit of yet another sleepless night was that my mother was determined to arrange her funeral as quickly…