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I SHOULDN'T have mentioned it, of course. Just tempting providence. Any public hint that I was building a wall carried the seeds of its collapse. In my beginning is my end. I suppose that's true of any human project, really. But need it have happe

IT'S ALL very hilly in this part of France, and any cultivable land has been wrested from the hillside by building up terraces. The terraces are broad or narrow according to the slope, and usually they're planted with olive or cherry trees, and a

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

Sunday night is nostalgia night here. Useless to resist. Despite all these years of expat life (Josephine 18, me coming up for 12), all these years of practically going native here in the south of France, despite all those struggles with thorny br

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

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

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