French Connections

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In my modest way I've always enjoyed driving my Peugeot 306 diesel, which, of all the cars I've ever had, has given the least trouble while proving the cheapest to run despite the incredibly high French motor insurance rates. (The annual premium i

WE'RE IN the middle of building a new house at the moment, just up the lane from our present house, close enough for us to lean out of the window and see how the builders, who are all called Alain, are getting on.

I'm trying to think of a s

A FEW summers ago some fairly elderly friends came to swim, and a little poolside chat revealed that Moïse, 68 and counting, was afraid of losing his memory. He had an awful problem, he said, with the simplest things, his children's names, wh

ON OUR rare trips to the United Kingdom we try to leave space in the car for goodies unobtainable here in the south of France, things like Marmite, digestive biscuits, porridge oats - but I shan't go on because if I do some reader is bound to grum

IT ALL took place in the greatest secrecy, hammerings and sawings behind closed doors, assemblage by night behind thick screens, so that nobody would know what the new village crèche – Christmas crib – would look like.


I WAS writing last month about a bank robbery in a village not far away that succeeded brilliantly because the villains took the precaution of chaining up the gates of the local gendarmerie before they set about their night's work. It has to be sa

Twelve years ago, almost exactly as I write this, I was asking myself the same question. Twelve years ago it rained incessantly, the house was knee-deep in boxes, builders and and barely-concealed bitterness. The roof leaked, the fire smoked like