Low life

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…

450 bottles of red? What more could I want from a neighbour

29 September 2018 9:00 am

I have a friend here in this French village to which we moved just over a week ago. He is…

A foretaste of Frexit

22 September 2018 9:00 am

Moving day. The contents of a hillside shack to be moved four miles to a cave house perched high on…

Back from the brink

15 September 2018 9:00 am

The long table was set out under four beautifully pollarded plane trees festooned with coloured lanterns and red balloons. Twenty…

For the love of gin

8 September 2018 9:00 am

I’d missed the train, and the next was due in 45 minutes, so I popped into the nearby salon for…

What would Oscar tell his dad first about our eventful fortnight in the south of France?

1 September 2018 9:00 am

I was present in the room when Oscar encountered his father for the first time since returning from his fortnight…

A spiritual journey to see some very expensive paintings

25 August 2018 9:00 am

The Villa Carnignac art gallery is located on a Mediterranean island off the French Riviera called Porquerolles. Purpose-built to show…

Why the kindness of strangers trumps a pagan festival

18 August 2018 9:00 am

The entire Alpine village, contemptuously dismissed recently in an online tourist guide as a nondescript centre of old peasants and…

How to survive a French heatwave

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Me in a black polo-neck jumper looking sour; Oscar wearing a floppy hat; her youngest daughter nude and stooping to…

Confessions of a cave-dweller continued

4 August 2018 9:00 am

The cave house next to ours is let out to weekly renters. A green-eyed German with a ponytail came out…

At 62, I’m looking for a hole in a rock

28 July 2018 9:00 am

Towering above this medieval French village is dun-coloured cliff of volcanic rock, dramatically floodlit at night, topped by two ancient…

Portrait of a seven-year-old state-run child

21 July 2018 9:00 am

Saturday morning. Quarter to 12. Sit-down fish and chips at the Silver Grill: me, Oscar and Oscar’s cousin Atticus. Atticus…

The anatomy of a Spectator summer party

14 July 2018 9:00 am

I flew from Marseille to Gatwick, rode the Gatwick Express to Victoria, and walked down the thoroughfare of Victoria Street…

Up close with the Rolling Stones

7 July 2018 9:00 am

At 7 p.m., panting, I knocked on the door of room 201 of the Hotel InterContinental, Marseille, expecting it to…

Why I was proud to be a dustman

30 June 2018 9:00 am

I heard the last and final call for flight 6114 to Nice while shuffling forward in the unexpectedly long queue…

Cancer? I wouldn’t have missed it for the world

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Homesick for England, family and friends, I flew back, and the next day went for a long walk with my…

Donald Hankey: a remarkable – and neglected – English voice

16 June 2018 9:00 am

Last year the BBC radio drama department received 3,797 scripts from hopeful authors, of which just 33 were recommended to…

Why did a Russian oligarch invite me to his party in Paris, and pay for me to get there?

9 June 2018 9:00 am

On Monday night I went to a party at the Crazy Horse nightclub in Paris thrown by the oligarch Vitaly…

Was our Airbnb host a closet toreador?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

We were standing in the tiny hall: me, Catriona, Annette and her toy Yorkshire terrier, Ahmed. It was our first…