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Ordering Chaos

I have been to a few literary festivals- Jaipur, Hay, Oxford- which give off a kind of frenzied energy which reminds one of the commercial drive behind the high-minded facade. I suppose because I had free entry to events, was being treated like a privileged visitor and in a state of near ecstasy over my environment, I thought Mantua had a definite edge over the others.

lollipop pink helmets

l The tombs of the Lodi kings in Delhi Outrageous even for Delhi- a child riding a Vespa! Down the neem avenue next to dusty Afghan tombs flanked by Royal palms (commanded by Lady Willingdon) A smaller child pillion riding, perky with new-oiled hair squashed like mash potato between paratha of driver and a cushiony […] Read more

The English countryside, and especially the area known as the Cotswolds, has become a commodified concept to be bought and sold, gambled with, invested in and corrupted. I am sorry to have to concede that I have arrived in quasi joke-land where all the cliches about wealthy farmers driving Lamborghini tractors, speeding country boys and […] Read more

Country Tales

Some people decided that the countryside was a kinder place when they moved out of cities in a kind of panic, when normal life seemed to have gone forever and green spaces beyond the suburbs offered an alternative habitat. I believe for many it was a desperate move, allowing access to clean air but also, […] Read more

Family holiday in Andalusia

It’s like watching a movie on the terrace of Lisboa Slow Food and though the photo shows a dull cloudy sort of day its actually sunny, but the wind is up. Most days the terrace is full of coffee drinkers and breakfast eaters because it gets the full sun, stretching its long rays across the […] Read more

Post-Lockdown, a bit dated perhaps but not much

Do we mourn the demise of engines of commercial engagement, their cogs and wheels grinding via esoteric systems that busily serviced what passed for the city’s culture? Oxford’s three or four theatres, the beloved Phoenix Picture Palace, Holywell Music Room, Sheldonian and St John the Evangelist musical venues plus the familiar shops and eating houses- […] Read more

On Being an Ersatz Oligarch

A snap of the fingers and a tom yang soup appears…

Lost villages

the "lost village"

The lost village of Acebuchal On January 13 it was warm enough to be eating lunch dressed in a tee shirt up in the mountains of Andalusia and while waiting for my thick potato and rib soup to cool a little I experienced a sharp feeling of deja-vu. potato and rib soup with chickpeas Sebastian’s […] Read more

Blackened Beanfields

Droughts happen, floods happen, but this was also the year that had thrown up the Covid plague. The world had changed within the seasons

The marmalade of my youth

“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade…” (D.H. Lawrence) The little marmalade, aka lemon, tree. In the garden (in truth a pocket handkerchief sized plot) of the very first house my parents built and owned, my mother planted a miniature orange tree- Calamondin according to a […] Read more