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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

British Values (4): Watching the English

Summer to Autumn, Autumn to Winter the period before things stabilize into predictable patterns, or what they are going to be like for a while- at least until the next seasonal change starts to shake the air- people like me become restless and questioning. Who am I, where do I fit in, where do I […] Read More

‘Loved ones’ and ‘yarnbombing’

Am I the only one who finds the phrase ‘loved ones’   grates like chalk on a blackboard?  It’s now the standard platitude wheeled out by insensate reporters and politicians to denote the bereaved with a mixture of croc tears and feigned empathy  . How do they know that mother, father, siblings, aunties, uncles and cousins […] 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

I needn’t have bothered with all those extra layers- beret, thick scarf, windcheater- because it was pretty warm under the dragon whoosh of the periodic tongues of gaseous flame, even at the occasional  3,000 feet above the A38. Fifteen persons climbed into the basket, captained by Mark Shemilt, a very experienced airline pilot with 40,000 […] Read More

Craft as Metaphor

“Who knows what form the forward momentum of life will take in the time ahead or what use it will make of our anguished searching. The most that any one of us can seem to do is fashion something-an object or ourselves- and drop it into the confusion, make an offering of it, so to […] Read More

The Rickety Press has many attributes that add to its charm: a bower of green leaves mellowing the exterior and softening the view from the windowside banquettes, a breezily chummy staff (Carole remarked on how the lattes had shrunk in size and was assured, “you want more coffee? Just say- I’ve got loads of coffee!”); […] Read More