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A little break in Devon

This hip yogi was collecting daan (charity, baksheesh, funds) for his “beloved Guruji, Swami X” and had taken £256.13 in cash to build a temple in the Himalayas. He wasn’t particularly out of place as Totnes gathers many such characters to its cosy bosom, where they become part of the variously costumed population, such as […] Read more

Brouhaha in Upper Fisher Row

  The cries of a girl in distress made me leap up  from my desk  overlooking our cul-de-sac,  the river flowing sweetly alongside, and run down to investigate the commotion (I work at two desks,  one of which  is useless for work that needs serious concentration, while the other is conducive to deep thought). A […] Read more

  Twenty years ago, in the early 90’s of the last century, I was already blogging- after a fashion. This week I unearthed a cache of articles that had been published in The Pioneer of New Delhi. This short-lived daily set off with high hopes, but spluttered to a bankrupt halt after only four or […] Read more

From the ridiculous to something different

Until the age of twenty-two  I had a secret wish to be a sailor. Later, somewhat burdened by my own and others’ expectations, I dreamed of  driving a  a bus. (Routine, predicability, timetable, boredom, then home to write the novel after supper). My ambition was to sail a proper ship that crossed the Indian Ocean, […] Read more

Joanie, or how to age with grace and fervour

In the distant past, Joan Baez sang with a voice shimmering with transparence and shot through with sweet purity. Children of the Sixties instantly identified with her songs of innocence and experience, tossing gauntlets of hope and visions of Utopia at our grubby, toe-ringed feet. We dreamed of wearing our hair long and ironed, entwined […] Read more

This is the gospel of GBT (Great British Things) according to the Times columnist, chief Sports Writer, Simon Barnes. 1.The Suffolk Coast: reeds, saline lagoons,the volatile, shifting, changing landscape, home of the bitterns, marsh harriers and avocets. 2. The curry houses of Drummond Street. 3. A Dance to the Music of Time. the 12-novel sequence […] Read more

Easter Vacation 2012

  The eight week vacation begins and the University swimming pool is looking de-cluttered once more. The feng-shui is welcome also in the changing rooms, which in term time ring to the undergrad ladettes trying to outvy one another with tales of sexual and alcohol related frolics; but the youthful energy injects a buzz in […] Read more

Green Winter Blues

I haven’t just rushed back to icy Britain- this blog should have been posted before I left for India. Seagulls have been crying in their annoying attention-getting way, swooping the length of the river early in the mornings. Now that the dense curtain of summer vegetation has cleared, Worcester College garden is visible from my […] Read more


                  On my way back home  from Dorset I stopped to take a few pictures of Poundbury, Prince Charles’s statement on domestic and civic architecture, which is set out in a flagship village on the outskirts of the historic town of Dorchester. Twenty five years ago the […] Read more

The mid-winter seaside

My friend, Richard, is taking a break on the South Coast,  along with his hard-working wife Helena and their delightful 4 year old Noah. The four of us were soaking up the sun and eating the most delicious beer battered whiting and cod (a few chips too) by  a beach hut at Lyme Regis a […] Read more