The Little British holiday

Brittany is (or was originally referred to as) La Petite Bretagne - did you know that? It was a place of refuge for Britons escaping from the Anglo-Saxon invaders of their homeland. Or maybe they just wanted to go somewhere a bit warmer, as millions of Britons still do. Having had a holiday home in…

Back to school

It may occasionally be of interest to others but this blog is a self-indulgent exercise. Sometimes I'm just recording what I've been up to and how I feel about current events, such as Brexit and the Covid pandemic. But it has also given me a space to examine and attempt to come to terms with…

Green, amber or red?

Fancy a foreign break? Who can blame us really when it is so wet and cold in Blighty. Just when you think things might be improving, a hailstorm crashes down. Merry month of May? If you want to get away, there are currently very few Government-approved destinations. There’s Australia and New Zealand (who clearly don’t…

Girl on the Tube

Having lived in Wirral and Oxford until I was 22, I'd rarely travelled on the Tube until I started working in Upminster. Even then, I travelled mostly by bus or I walked. It took me a while to work out where the lines were connected, how to avoid the interchanges with the longest walks, and…

The internet and me

"Where would we be without the web?" says everyone I talk to. Mind you, nearly every conversation I have is on the internet these days, so they would say that, wouldn't they? Shares in the company that owns the Zoom platform have, appropriately, rocketed. It’s not only Zoom, one of many technologies that allow meetings…

The Old Elm Tree

Antonio Machado (1875-1939) is undoubtedly one of Spain’s greatest poets. Not as famous as his younger, more flamboyant contemporary Federico García Lorca, his work owes less to the startling, often violent, imagery associated with Lorca and more to a calm contemplation of nature that goes back, via Wordsworth, to Virgil, Theocritus. Etc, etc. A crude…

The Good Old Days

I was 19 in 1974. The year began inauspiciously with the Three Day Week, power cuts, a miners’ strike and a General Election. It was a matter of debate whether Ted Heath’s government was really in power or just pretending. I can’t say it bothered me much, apart from when the pubs were shut. The…

Why I love Greece

My first visit to Greece was in April 1971. I was 16¼. Although I’d just dropped Greek for Spanish at A Level (and never regretted that, I was still studying Latin and Ancient History and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of spending three weeks in Greece if I could help it. My former…

Arriving in León

Spain in 1975 was very different from England, and quite different from what it has become today. I felt it, as much as saw it, as soon as I got off the plane. Of course it was hot and dusty. Policemen carried machine-guns, and there seemed to be a lot of them about. There were…