Low life

The political agenda of the bookshop at Bristol airport

16 September 2017 9:00 am

The army patrols at Nice airport go around three abreast, steely-eyed, fingers on the trigger. They walk slowly and scrutinise…

My hair-dye shame

9 September 2017 9:00 am

‘Have you ever thought of having some colour put in, love?’ said Julian as he shaved my neck with a…

I like Donald Trump — but don’t tell anyone

2 September 2017 9:00 am

I arrived for lunch a bit late and was led to the dining table. Our hostess disappeared back into the…

What my 91-year-old aunt could teach Boris Johnson

26 August 2017 9:00 am

My mother has various chronic illnesses and finds it almost impossible to remain both immobile and awake during the day.…

Oscar and I at a ‘car boot sale’ in Provence

19 August 2017 9:00 am

On Sunday morning we went, Oscar and I, to a vide grenier in the ancient, picturesque Provençal village. Vide grenier…

My grandson has come to Provence

12 August 2017 9:00 am

My grandson and I are reprising the 1968 film The Swimmer. Burt Lancaster is an advertising executive at a pool…

The gig of a lifetime in a Provençal village

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Five and the Red One are a German covers band. It’s probably the most uninspiring name for a rock band…

I am the only foreign journalist interested in bull-fighting

29 July 2017 9:00 am

‘We are always waiting for somebody,’ observed a vexed British journalist. Usually it was me they were waiting for, but…

Valencia was like a furnace – especially with the hangover from hell

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Valencia was a furnace. During the short ride from the airport, the taxi driver supplemented his chat about the weather…

I survived a hen party — just

15 July 2017 9:00 am

The hen party was seated at an outside restaurant table under the plane trees when I arrived. They sat with…

'Any sauce?' asked the waitress. 'Get your knickers off,' I said

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Up on the fifth floor the wind was like thunder. Wild gusts shook the window glass so violently I thought…

Edward III and me

1 July 2017 9:00 am

I got up, made a pot of coffee and sat and read the paper. A churchgoing charity worker had stolen…

The things you learn in a gentrified waiting room

24 June 2017 9:00 am

‘Yours?’ I said to the woman watching the mechanic poring over the latest-shape Renault Mégane for faults. (I was waiting…

Every time I touch a car, I break it

17 June 2017 9:00 am

French supermarket cashiers won’t be hurried. Nor will their customers, many of whom seem caught out by a bill at…

What is it about fat people and zoos?

10 June 2017 9:00 am

‘Get ready for the stink,’ said Oscar as we walked up the concrete ramp to the entrance of the ape…

I am a human football

3 June 2017 9:00 am

My latest bed partner is a seven-year-old lad. That first night we slept together in my double bed, I hardly…

What is the correct accent for a Spectator writer?

27 May 2017 9:00 am

‘Jeremy, I want you to sit here next to me — unless you’re frightened of me?’ We were briefly introduced…

In praise of Prozac

20 May 2017 9:00 am

Chez Frank is a popular local boar-hunters’ bar, tobacconist and general store at a lonely crossroads in the forest. It…

My feminist, girl-power, girlie theme night

13 May 2017 9:00 am

I was sitting between mother and daughter on the sofa, and we were having a ‘wee night’ as Glaswegians put…

What a Marine Le Pen rally taught me about the outcome of the election

6 May 2017 9:00 am

‘Emmanuel Macron est le plus grand con du monde,’ said the elderly gent taking the vacant seat on my right…

When a pitch-black child’s closet is the place to be

29 April 2017 9:00 am

I went to a barbecue. Everyone was patient and well disposed towards the silent, depressed, two-toed sloth in their midst.…

I’d rather be depressed than develop a buffalo hump

22 April 2017 9:00 am

When I was depressed 20 years ago, the (then) new antidepressant drug Prozac sorted it easily. It took six weeks…

Naming and shaming the fat women of Europe (and that includes the Italians)

15 April 2017 9:00 am

I ran for the airport terminal shuttle bus; the doors shut behind me as I skipped on. I sank into…

A local copper reminded me of the sordid story of my stalker

8 April 2017 9:00 am

My brother and I were taking a short cut through an alleyway and saw a copper coming towards us through…

Dispatches from the land of legal (and illegal) highs

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Repatriated after two months sur le continong, I walked down the sunny high street marvelling at English cheerfulness. A poster…