Category Archives: Great Thoughts

Heat, health and hygiene: first impressions of Tokyo

It felt very odd arriving late at night in Tokyo when my body said it was lunchtime. Of course it was impossible to sleep, so we spent the our first hour trying to understand the rather threatening appearance of the … Continue reading

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Planning the Grand Tour:Japan and Australia

It’s a long time since I saw my sister who lives in Australia, so it’s time for a great journey to the other side of the world. As I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, we’re going there first en … Continue reading

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11.11.18 the Armistice 100th Anniversary

This was an event worth participating in. In the week before, we drove through Yorkshire to see all the villages decorated with knitted, yes knitted, poppies, hundreds of thousands of them. At Fountains Abbey it was raining too hard to … Continue reading

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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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