Open my heart and you will see/Grav’d inside of it, “Italy.”

What did holidaymakers do in the halcyon days before the internet, Wi-Fi, smartphones and tablets? They sent one another postcards, of course! And before the postcard?? In the 18th/19th century affluent young gentlemen and (rarely) ladies were packed off to do the Grand Tour; sent traipsing around Europe in the fond hope that – rather […]

Santa’s Ludwig’s Grotto. What’s wurst?

Neuschwanstein [see previous post] wasn’t Ludwig’s [Ludwig II of Bavaria] only creation. Apart from the fact that the fairy tale castle wasn’t actually finished when he died (ah, his death, there’s another mystery – suicide? murder?? escape attempt???)  the king generally seemed to prefer living in one of his smaller flights of fancy. Hidden deep […]

Home again

Swansea’s really cool! Don’t worry, I haven’t had a sudden attack of youth culture (do you remember ‘cool’ back in the ’60s and ’70s? — plus ça change!); having hung about for a short while in close(ish) proximity to the equator –‘sometime wet, sometime dry, but ever hot’, our guide explained – I mean it literally. w Still having a […]

The Far East and the unexpected

Greetings from Saigon, where crossing the road’s a seriously life threatening experience (no, really, it’s terrifying – those mopeds take up to four(!) people and don’t stop for anything or anyone!) The food’s interesting, though; curiously spiced and exotically coloured, it’s redolent of Asian mystery and adventure, of fantastic travels in strange lands (Monkey and Tripitaka, […]


Not much outdoor activity; it’s raining  ̶  started this morning and is really quite heavy (Swansea equivalent = ‘perhaps you should take an umbrella, it looks a bit like rain’). Anyway, the good news is that this provided an opportunity to visit the Queen Victoria Market, a large indoor (obviously!) area full of goodies from […]

O for a musical witchetty grub!

Guess where I am now – as if you didn’t know! (a clue: it starts with S and rhymes with kidney). It’s Autumn: the leaves are just starting to fall, the clocks going back and the culture season’s getting into its swing. Today (that’s tomorrow as far as you’re concerned), for example,  in and around […]