Notes on…

The triumph of the National Army Museum

25 June 2022 9:00 am

Five years ago this month I wrote an article in The Spectator denouncing the National Army Museum after its £24…

The mystery behind elderflower

18 June 2022 9:00 am

There’s an old saying that English summertime begins when the frothy heads of elderflowers appear in hedgerows – and ends…

Beach huts have never been so fashionable – or expensive

11 June 2022 9:00 am

Despite claims the property market is on the brink of a crash, one niche seems recession-proof: beach huts, barely bigger…

How to make a royally good Dubonnet cocktail

4 June 2022 9:00 am

The Platinum Jubilee celebrations look like boom time for the drinks industry, with various whisky, gin and port brands all…

How to mend (almost) anything

28 May 2022 9:00 am

‘Sides to middle’, that’s the cry. When your foot goes through the flat sheet in the night, there’s only one…

The politics of bowls clubs

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Bowls has a reputation as a sedate pastime, but it can be as fiercely competitive as any other sport. It…

Why Kent is being bulldozed by buffalo

14 May 2022 9:00 am

Buffalo are now living in the fens of Kent. Why – have we slipped into the metaverse of Lewis Carroll?…

The romance and rebellion of an Iranian picnic

7 May 2022 9:00 am

Iranians adore a picnic. During the country’s most ancient festival, Nowruz, the Persian new year, they brandish baskets of food…

Getting a fringe is always a cry for help

30 April 2022 9:00 am

Fringes have in recent years been considered attractive – Bettie Page, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Birkin, Kate Moss – so it…

Thumbs up: why hitchhiking is the best way to travel

23 April 2022 9:00 am

When I first saw Vitaly I thought he was drunk. I was standing outside a petrol station near Fulda, in…

Why violets come into their own at Easter

16 April 2022 9:00 am

The English Rock Garden, the magnum opus of the great gardening writer, horticulturist and plant collector Reginald Farrer, is an…

My love affair with the Wolseley

9 April 2022 9:00 am

I was sitting alone at a small table in the Wolseley, Piccadilly, waiting for my supper and feeling a sense…

Crunch time: how to make the perfect crisp sandwich

2 April 2022 9:00 am

A crisp sandwich is a private and personal endeavour. In my experience (and I have considerable experience in this particular…

How Mother’s Day became big business

26 March 2022 9:00 am

As ever, the Romans got there first. Their version of Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day was the feast of Juno…

In defence of slugs: gastropods are seriously misunderstood

19 March 2022 9:00 am

Slugs and snails are the bane of every gardener who tries to grow strawberries, leafy and tuberous vegetables, flowering bulbs…

The cult of the convertible

12 March 2022 9:00 am

The earliest cars were technically convertibles because the technology to fit a roof did not exist. Now the dedicated retractable…

The prickly truth: hedgehogs face a struggle to survive

5 March 2022 9:00 am

No wild animal is closer to the hearts of the British than the hedgehog. In poll after poll, it has…

How sausage dogs were weaponised in the war

26 February 2022 9:00 am

Short of leg but big on personality, the eccentrically shaped dachshund is one of Britain’s most beloved pets. Originally known…

The rise and fall of whistling

19 February 2022 9:00 am

There was, at least until recently, an old sign round the back of the Savoy banning whistling by staff or…

The controversial side of carp fishing

12 February 2022 9:00 am

All anglers are obsessive, but carp fishers are the most single-minded of all. They think nothing of spending weeks on…

The cult of the daffodil

5 February 2022 9:00 am

Spring is the season of supermarket daffodils. At a pound a bunch, you can deck out your home like Elton…

The rise and fall of Britain’s fur trade

29 January 2022 9:00 am

We in Britain have long been much more squeamish about fur than other Europeans. I still well remember the snide…

The secrets of chicken soup

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Catherine Chicken is sickly. She has swollen up like a barrage balloon with an evil face and dinosaur feet. She…

The bittersweet truth about homemade marmalade

15 January 2022 9:00 am

The spectrum of ‘bestowing homemade gifts on one’s friends’ ranges from giving to foisting. Pure giving is when you make…

Gold

8 January 2022 9:00 am

After taking James Bond hostage, Auric Goldfinger does what all Bond villains do when in a position of power —…