Notes on…

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,…

Mothing is a serious business

12 December 2020 9:00 am

As darkness falls, a group of mainly middle-aged men set up traps of various shapes and sizes — some sophisticated…

The traditional cricket tea is under threat

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Cricket is not renowned for embracing change. The introduction of the middle stump, overarm bowling and Kevin Pietersen were all…

Robins have earned their cultural perch on Christmas cards

28 November 2020 9:00 am

At the risk of sounding like Sid James in some late period Carry On, I currently have two birds on…

Who decides what’s allowed on a gravestone?

21 November 2020 9:00 am

A parishioner in West Yorkshire has been allowed to put an inscription in Chinese on a relative’s gravestone. ‘There is…

The rise and fall of mink

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Mink keeps you warm. That’s a most acceptable bonus, but its prime function is status. This week, however, the focus…

How political is your fruit and veg?

7 November 2020 9:00 am

I recently bought some quinces in our local farmshop as part of my new policy of investing heavily in right-wing…

The haunting stories of Britain’s ‘bog bodies’

31 October 2020 9:00 am

Some believe that All Hallows’ Eve is adopted from a much older Celtic holiday, Samhain, that marked the change from…

The joy of drinking alone

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Thanks to a combination of night-time curfews, social-distancing rules, pubs closing, restaurants failing, the ‘rule of six’ and compulsory mask-wearing,…

Winkles

17 October 2020 9:00 am

For the first time in 30-odd years, many Brits have started eating winkles again. Unable to holiday abroad this summer,…

Has Covid killed off Punch and Judy?

10 October 2020 9:00 am

They’re one of the country’s most famous married couples. You just need to spot his colourful jester outfit and the…

Box clever: the surprising history of signal boxes

3 October 2020 9:00 am

Petersfield signal box is in the wrong place. Or at least it is now. When it was built in the…

Why crowds are so pleasing

26 September 2020 9:00 am

London, writes Dr Watson in the first Sherlock Holmes story, is ‘that great cesspool into which all the loungers and…

Could Trump save the capital letter?

19 September 2020 9:00 am

Irrespective of whether Donald Trump ends up being a two-term president, surely no modern political figure has done more to…

From fist-bumps to bows: how to avoid shaking hands

12 September 2020 9:00 am

The government wants us back in the office — catching trains, buying sandwiches and actually seeing colleagues and clients rather…

The bliss of proper bread

5 September 2020 9:00 am

I cannot claim the gift of prophecy, but early this year — before lockdown panic-buying and the warnings of a…