French Connections

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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

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

IF YOU'RE looking for material for kitchen worktops, granite is the answer. It has all the advantages: it resists great heat and cold, it's virtually indestructible, scratchproof and unstainable, it's decorative and lasts for ever. It's massively

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 sitting quietly at our village mediaeval banquet discussing philosophy with my friend Jean-Claude when a bread pellet thrown from three or four tables away struck me on the shoulder. Another followed a couple of seconds later, narrowly missi

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

SUNDAY MORNING, early. Yawn, stretch, rub eyes, peer at watch in pink dawn light. 7 o'clock. Breathe in fresh morning air, a wonderful daily treat after weeks of stifling summer temperatures. Through the open window the angelus rings faintly, from