November 6, 2017

Summer has gone from the hillside in Provence.  Vineyards gold and russet, the terrace wet from last night’s rain, the sky West of Scotland grey and the air chill.

Peggy died this morning.  Dear Peggy.  A couple of years ago I looked after her in nearby M...

November 6, 2016

The centre of Arles has been untouched by late 20th century planners and architects and as a result it's busy enough to be interesting, and quiet enough to be pleasant.  The grand Place de la Republique with its obelisk and lions leads to the Place du Forum and the...

May 1, 2016

Over the following few weeks I produced, along with a few terrible failures, three works which, although poor, were not entirely shame-worthy: two copies of the Clarke still-life and two works of my own: a small study of a reclining nude and a landscape in oils.

December 17, 2015

The huge vaulted hall in the tiny Provençal village was unheated. I guessed the air temperature to be around 7'C; perfect for champagne but uncomfortable.  Seventeen people in coats and scarves turned and looked up when I came in so I hurriedly sat on the only availabl...

May 31, 2015

'We're thinking about having a little lunch party on Sunday.  Can you do canapés for between 20 and 40?'  Asked the expat documentary maker who speaks four languages, including French and Russian and lives in the village here in the Var.

I arrived in Provence five...

March 3, 2015

Three inquisitive goats stood on the windowsill looking in at me as I wandered sleepily into the kitchen after a bad night. I'd slept in and feeling guilty, poured two mugs of coffee and took them outside. Mathilde the gardener was sitting on a wall staring at her phon...

December 30, 2014

A large Victorian villa with as many family and friends as will fit round the dining table.  Fifteen at a squeeze.  Shining under an Edwardian rise and fall lamp the table is set with crystal glasses, silverware, linen napkins tied with tartan ribbon, a dozen candles i...

February 20, 2014

Walking through the village one rainy Friday evening in February I was drawn to English voices at the bar.  Three young men, hatted and well wrapped up, were sitting outside drinking pastis and smoking.  They occupied one of four tables and their breath condensed as th...

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