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I WAS splitting cherry logs when an unfamiliar car drew up nearer the house. A smartly-dressed woman got out, picked her way across a shallow ditch and peered closely at a rotten tree stump.

Remembering that once during his madness George I

We were just watching what they called the 'enthronement' of some new Chevaliers on the steps of the mairie – you never know what village life is going to throw up next - when Lazare, a kindly old man from a neighbouring village, came up and

3am. What they call the wee sma' hours in Inverness and les petites heures here in the south of France. It's been one of those nights. The cats, Pinot and Merlot, won't settle. It's not just their nature, it's not that they're always on the wrong

A DUTCH friend gave us some Roomboter Waffeltjies, or some such name, the other day. They're a sort of papal-strength wafer soaked, steeped, clarted in rum butter. I had one with my afternoon tea (a Lapsang Souchong-Russian Caravan mix) and felt t

MAJOR SUCKER for pomp and circumstance here, I'm afraid. July 14th – la fête nationale, the anniversary of the 1789 revolutionary mob breaking into the Bastille, the Paris prison/fortress symbolic of royalist rule – July 14th fou

THERE WAS time enough for an apéritif outside before the first distant thumps and rumbles of thunder came too close for comfort. Easy-peasy, relax, stay cool, as Sir Francis Drake might have said, eyeing up the lie of his bowls as he glance

"YOU'LL BE a man, my son" wrote Kipling at the end of "If", a poem which warms the heart of some as much as it really gets up the nose of others.

After all the hype, puffery and scramble for sponsorship surrounding the F