Category Archives: Great Thoughts

A weekend on impulse in Poland

I’d never heard of Wroclaw, but with amazingly cheap Ryanair flights from Newcastle, and a promising guide book lent by a friend, we decided to go. First impressions were not good. The airport bus took us through depressing suburbs of … Continue reading

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Storm Ali: a nightmare journey home

I had no idea when I left Venice’s Marco Polo airport that there was a violent storm sitting over the British Isles. Even when the captain told us that it would be a bumpy landing in Edinburgh, I thought nothing … Continue reading

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Speaking at a Book Club: weird but wonderful!

Yesterday I found myself in the strange situation of being an invited speaker at an American book club in Italy, talking to a group of strangers who knew more about my life in Italy than I do. I was invited … Continue reading

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Amazing Roman Engineering: bridges, aqueducts and fortifications.

Coming from Hadrian’s Wall country, I’ve always appreciated the phenomenal engineering skills of the Romans, but after my recent week in the south of France, I am even more impressed. On our first day we went to a Roman settlement … Continue reading

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Three cheers for Easyjet after cancelled flight!

The weather in Italy this month has been variable to say the least. We’ve had sunshine, warm enough to sit on a bench with a book, followed by torrential rain and even snow. We had a guest for the weekend … Continue reading

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A Prize Trip to Paris, and thoughts on Alchemy and Museums.

How wonderful to travel to Paris courtesy of a bit of my recent writing, and even better to travel unexpectedly first class on Eurostar. We travelled in luxury, then onward in somewhat less comfort on the Metro. (Where these days … Continue reading

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Baden Baden: swimming in snow and darkness

I have always liked spa towns, not so much for the spa treatments, but because they invariably have fine architecture and lovely parks. On this year’s drive back from Italy, we decided to take in the ultimate European spa town … Continue reading

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Venice Biennale

I’m always reluctant to pay the €30 entry fee to see cutting edge or politically correct art at the two sites of the Biennale, so I try to find interesting free venues which are often better. This year is no … Continue reading

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All’s Well that Ends Well (Apart from Chaos at a Bavarian Market)

My car was a write off after the autostrada accident, and I had to wait anxiously for the verdict as to who was responsible for the crash. (Knowing Italians, I suspected that the easy explanation would be that I’m foreign, … Continue reading

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Dementia: Caring for Mother, 92

My usual frequent trips to Italy have been cancelled because of my mother’s increasing frailty, physically and mentally. I realised that she could not longer live independently, mainly because she was forgetting to eat, and found what I thought was … Continue reading

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