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Travel

Hospitality (4) Quinta da Concecaio, Setubal

An owl lived in the dark green cork woods and I was lulled  to  sleep  by gentle hooting.  A harvest moon silvered a swimming pool flanked by classical pillars and a Moorish aqueduct, crickets stridulated during the slow languid afternoon and a rumbustious cock crowed somewhere in the distance. These were exceptions to the silence […] Read More

Exiles in far islands

Currently  pertinent in regard  to colonial history,  the Karma Police are working overtime issuing warrants and ASBOs.    Unholy chaos in the Middle East (messing about with other peoples’ borders and ideas of nationhood) as well as  news reports of rotten baby teeth in Britain, obesity, cancer and diabetes (linked to a sugar laden national […] Read More

Life’s non-guilty pleasures

Is there any experience more pleasurable than a whole week by oneself in a sunny climate, the sea at one’s front door, books to read, videos to watch, simple fresh food and company when one wants? My second trip to Kardimyli in late October was a near perfect holiday, just slightly marred by the presence […] Read More

Northumberland, the last outpost

On a peerless day in November we walked coatless alongside the River Till, near the estates of Ford and Etal and close by  Flodden where James IV’s Scottish army was defeated in a decisive battle. The sun was warm, almost hot, and we watched the play of light on the water and through the gold […] Read More

Hospitality (3) Casa del Grivo

Close to the ancient city of Civedale in the Friuli region and on the border of Slovenia is a ancient stone house, re-built and lovingly restored by Toni and Paola (with the help of many friends) when they were young and full of hopeful energy and enthusiasm. The sturdy walnut tree provided small walnuts for […] Read More

Hospitality (2) La Luna di Quarazzana

  I imagine that no one who stays at La Luna di Quarazzana is especially deprived, but everyone who comes here surely leaves a few  notches more uplifted. Ilaria Baccherini is blessed with a gift of making her guests feel truly looked after and listened to. There is nothing elaborate or fancy about the house […] Read More

A Concert Tour in Italy

  When I lived in France I became an  addict of  gospel singing. The  choir  consisted of between twenty to twenty five  persons and even when I wasn’t actually living in the Pyrenees I went at least   twice every year to  be instructed by Emmanuel and Jean-Paul, two powerful gospel musicians originally from West […] Read More

Styrian Schnitzel

Graz, Austria’s second largest city, is guarded by a clock tower on the  hill known as Schlossburg and reached by 264 steps built by Russian prisoners during WWI. Zooming up in a trice in a glass lift was a relief but I felt guilty about the easy ride and  and walked down when I might […] Read More

Twenty Years Back… This has been one of those mythical summers, when bees get drunk on obscenely gorgeous roses and honeysuckle, when Panama hats and straw boaters are essential wardrobe items, when proper thirst assumes reality, when grass shrivels and sun burns blisters on the skin. In June Wimbledon recorded 112F (surely not- must be […] Read More

A week in Kardimyli

    The olive groves were silent, the blue sea rolled below, still  queasy after the night’s storm and no one was around as I walked around Patrick Leigh Fermor’s  house absorbing the atmosphere and trying to find traces of the late writer’s presence. Although I couldn’t see into his garden, I managed to get […] Read More