Notes on…

Why it’s boom time for bitterns

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Bitterns are booming, both literally and metaphorically. These handsome brown birds from the heron family make a noise quite unlike…

What makes a pasty Cornish?

12 June 2021 9:00 am

This week, world leaders are doing what countless Brits do every summer: unpacking their bags in a charming corner of…

Do you speak Viking?

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Supposedly 5 per cent of words in English are borrowed from Old Norse. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but…

Crunch time: why has Walkers changed its salt and vinegar crisps?

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Henry Walker might never have got into the crisp business were it not for the fact that his Leicester butcher’s…

The grim roots of ‘refusenik’

22 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Vaccine refusenik’ is the latest catchphrase used to disparage anyone unwilling — for whatever reason — to roll up their…

The strange magic of the mountain hare

15 May 2021 9:00 am

The numbers of the dear old mountain hare in England are becoming perilously depleted. A researcher, Carlos Bedson, has suggested…

In defence of dandelions

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Dandelions are one of the cheeriest wild flowers. They are loved by children for their ‘clock’ seed heads, are entirely…

The humble heroes of London’s Watts Memorial

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole died last weekend saving a woman’s life. Hearing her cries as she fell into the Thames from London…

‘Walking football’ is in a super league of its own

24 April 2021 9:00 am

As a footballer, I’m elderly not elite, meaning that I’m one of 60,000 or so 50- to 92-year-olds (yep, 92!)…

For Queen and country: the joy of Land Rovers

17 April 2021 9:00 am

The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin will be carried in a Land Rover. Not any old Land Rover, but a Defender…

The cruelty and cunning of the cuckoo

10 April 2021 9:00 am

St Tiburtius’ Day, on 14 April, is traditionally when you will hear the first cuckoo. Since at least the Middle…

Is the adder slithering towards extinction?

3 April 2021 9:00 am

In early April, when the chiffchaff sings its drab little song in the leafless hawthorns, something is stirring in the…

How mead became cool again

27 March 2021 9:00 am

The last time I drank mead was 7 April 1978. It was my 18th birthday and —unforgettably — it was…

Top floor: Minton tiles inspire a remarkable devotion

20 March 2021 9:00 am

It’s only since I moved to Staffordshire that I’ve come to appreciate that some of the finest works of public…

Why egrets keep making headlines

13 March 2021 9:00 am

There’s an unwritten rule in newspaper journalism that any story about egrets must have one of two headlines. Either ‘no…

Devil of a job: the curious occupations recorded in the census

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Even before the first census was made in 1801, the plan was regarded with fear, hatred and ridicule. And this…

What kind of oyster-eater are you?

27 February 2021 9:00 am

The latest fight between the EU and the UK isn’t over vaccines, but molluscs. Brussels won’t grant Britain a special…

Pigs have a long history of performing remarkable feats

20 February 2021 9:00 am

If you scratch his tummy, Ivory the clever pig will take you on at a computer game. He wields the…

The church that’s hosted the Virgin Mary, Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Grant

13 February 2021 9:00 am

There is only one place in the world that has played host to both the Virgin Mary and Benjamin Franklin,…

Hotel breakfasts are a risky business

6 February 2021 9:00 am

A few Spectator readers may soon find themselves confined to quarantine hotels, so the magazine thought it timely to find…

Why Doc Martens are the only footwear you need

30 January 2021 9:00 am

Doc Martens are one of those quintessentially British things that, like the royal family and lorries queuing on the M20,…

My historical re-enactment group’s battle with Silicon Valley

23 January 2021 9:00 am

The Wimborne Militia of Dorset prides itself on being the only formally commissioned ‘private army’ in England. We’re well known…

The political power of America’s First Dogs

16 January 2021 9:00 am

From the moment Donald Trump’s presidency began, he was lacking something. But Joe Biden is about to make up for…

How to be a hermit

9 January 2021 9:00 am

At a time when so many of us are experiencing some measure of isolation, it is hard to fathom the…

The many uses of frankincense and myrrh

19 December 2020 9:00 am

‘And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down,…