Calla Jones Corner

Why the Romans loved asparagus

It is said that asparagus was Emperor Augustus’s favourite food. And France is, despite its Gallic spasms, a fundamentally Roman civilisation. Ask nine out of ten Frenchmen if they will have asparagus on their Easter table and they will say ‘mais oui’. The crunchy, slightly bitter stalk has enthralled humans for millennia due to its

Inside my mother’s purse

I’ve been carrying with me a little black silk purse with a tortoise shell closing since my mother died 11 years ago. I suppose it’s one of the last things left from my beloved, stylish mother. To help me pick out a replacement, I enlisted my seven-year-old granddaughter, Maélle, a fashionista like me and her

Confessions of a speeding granny

I suppose it was going to happen. But not inevitably. After 66 years behind the wheel, I’ve finally gotten a speeding ticket. In France. During those years, I’ve put the pedal to the metal in an Alfa Romeo (Spider Veloce with Weber carburetors), a zippy MG (my mother’s), a 375HP Corvette Stingray (my first husband’s),

Olé the Swiss way

I would never attend a Spanish bullfight. I find the ‘sport’ abhorrent, from the enthusiasm of the crowd for blood and gore to the inevitable killing of the poor, innocent bull. I know it’s a cultural thing but that doesn’t make it civilized. I’m even hoping, during the famous annual ‘running of the bulls’ in

I love my coronation stool

My British fiancé, Richard, came with a dowry. Lest anyone think I married money, china and sterling-for-eight, let me set you straight: Richard’s dowry was a huge, wooden salad bowl, a carpet sweeper and a stool. My dowry had the china, sterling and a vacuum cleaner.   No stools were made for Charles III’s coronation,

The Roald Dahl I knew

In May 1962, I was recuperating from a nasty broken leg – the result of a traffic accident in Paris – at my husband’s aunt Margot and uncle Brian’s enchanting cottage about an hour outside of London in Hertfordshire. The Dulantys’ cottage, called The Fisheries, was built in the 1820s in the village of Chorleywood, in

Is French still the language of love?

There are so many ways to express love in French that it’s easy to make faux pas. My faux pas over the five decades I’ve been speaking French are legend – at least in the family. Best to keep them there. Most people know that ‘Je vous aime’ means ‘I love you’ and covers one or more people.