Rome at Christmas

I am in Rome. I usually make the ‘pilgrimage’ at some point during the run-up to Christmas. The street illuminations are magnificent, the shopping is deliciously decadent and hectic and the Irish Catholic child in me thrills at St Peter’s Church and Square decked out in all its Nativity glory. Except that this year the…


The Deluge

Some of you may have read about or seen on the news the appalling floods that hit my homeland of Cannes and its environs in the south of France at the beginning of this month. We were there; we had driven down the day before to spend a quiet week together, olive harvesting and writing….


Mourning Palmyra

The destruction of our ancient history, of magnificent sites that are, or were, jewels in our cultural heritage and are now nothing but rubble, makes my blood boil. We are all of us reading the news and staring at photographs that are breaking our hearts. And we are so impotent, or so it feels to…


Scorched Earth

A few days ago I headed north, driving from our home on the French Côte d’Azur to our home in the Brie, mid-centre between Paris and Reims, fifteen minutes from the Champagne district. I love these long trajectories penetrating and discovering France. In the years I have lived here I have driven in every season,…


Celebrating Film

By the time you read this, the 68th Cannes Film Festival will have packed up its wares and the pantechnicons will be back on the road. The awards will have been handed out and celebrated at illustrious parties, Elton John will have hosted his annual Aids event, and the stars will be on planes flying…