How a family of corvids helped me cope with Covid.

Illustration by the von Wright brothers

Thanks to the proximity of the tree it was like watching a wildlife documentary. I’d stand at the window sipping my morning espresso, a sedate activity…

Forced closures and dwindling resources threaten a vital element of the French way of life. This writer is taking it personally.

Pascal and his wife own Le Jean Bart, the brasserie where I have a coffee most mornings — ah, that supercharging double hit of espresso — and eat lunch a couple of days a week. …

In May 2000 my life changed for good.

The author soon after arriving in Paris. He’s quit smoking, but not wine and contemplation. Pic: Tim Green

Weekday mornings I took the Tube to my mildly enjoyable job at an advertising trade magazine, picking up a copy of The Times to read along the way. At weekends I ate pub lunches and ambled in the park and…

My dad died this year, but his legacy was an immortal hero.

My father died in March this year after a long illness. A funny and talkative man, he couldn’t resist charming those around him. Even towards the end, he was making the nurses at the hospice laugh. …

Finding characters and a kind of therapy in the quirky pools of Paris.

If you get there early enough — and I nearly always do — you can be first into the water. But for the moment you stand at the side of the pool, toes curling as you contemplate the perfect rectangle of turquoise, broken only by the cheerful red-and-white beads of the lane dividers.

You flex your knees, lower your head. And then you’re in, gliding through a cool blue world, utterly cut off from the distractions of terrestrial life.

Swimming is not just exercise. It’s a tempo, a rhythm, a chance to reflect. Immersive is the word, all right.


I was standing in line at airport security at Berlin Brandenburg when I got the call. As soon as I saw my wife’s name on the screen, I answered. She rarely calls cold like that — almost always sends a text. So already the numbness in my gut told me it was bad news.

“There was something on my mammogram,” she said. “They have to do a biopsy.”

“So they don’t know what it is?” I said. “Could be nothing.”

“No,” she replied. “I feel it. I know it. There’s something.”

There was an edge of tears in her voice…

Mark Tungate

British writer happily stranded in Paris. Author of seven books about advertising, branding and creativity.

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