When is a semi not a semi?

Answer: When it’s a journey through time and space. Last week I visited a house that the Times described as ‘Britain’s most extraordinary home’. Talliston House is a three-bedroomed semi-detached house in Great Dunmow, Essex, which has so many histories attached to it, that it’s practically a GCSE subject in its own right. I didn’t… Continue reading When is a semi not a semi?

A surprise in Andalucia

The Moors and I have at least one thing in common – we do love a citrus tree. For me this manifests itself in an inability to walk past an orange or lemon tree without stopping to photograph it. For the Moors, slightly more amibitious in the citrus arena, it meant planting an abundance of… Continue reading A surprise in Andalucia

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Categorised as Spain

What I’ve learnt in Japan …

Something that I really love about the Japanese is their appreciation and wholehearted embracing of everything impermanent and seasonal. They love the idea that something is with us for a few short weeks and then disappears again for another year; there’d be no demand here for Creme Eggs in September. For them, seasonality underlines the… Continue reading What I’ve learnt in Japan …

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Categorised as Asia, Japan

Kyoto without the crowds

If there’s one covid silver lining for me, it’s the lack of tourists in Kyoto. Kyoto’s one of my top three favourite cities in the world, and I couldn’t wait to get back once I’d arrived in Nagoya. So, with a good weather forecast last weekend, I set off, determined to see some of the… Continue reading Kyoto without the crowds

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Categorised as Japan

What’s going on in Aichi?

Aichi, home of Toyota and miso sauce, is normally a rather staid and sensible place; it’s emphatically not Tokyo – no maid cafes or love hotels here, thank you very much. But recently there have been some strange goings on. The national English language newspaper printed the following disturbing story This bizarre-sounding crime is actually… Continue reading What’s going on in Aichi?

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Categorised as Japan

Japan: a walk in the park

I love a walk in the park in Japan … you never know what you’re going to see around the next bend in the path … … perhaps a couple taking their ferret out for a stroll? Having spent a year walking round the local park in Bedford, I can faithfully report that all I… Continue reading Japan: a walk in the park

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Bend me, shape me

Mindful of the need to keep fit even when life is very constricted, I’ve done a 30-minute yoga class from the Yoga Studio app almost every day since the beginning of the Pandemic. At around 6 o’clock every evening I roll my mat out on the sitting room carpet, and pull on a hairband so… Continue reading Bend me, shape me

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Categorised as England

How Korea is dealing with Coronavirus

Quarantine is taken very seriously here – you’re not allowed to leave the airport until you can prove that you have accommodation sorted for your 14-day isolation period. The Korean army is at the airport, processing everyone, installing the quarantining app on everyone’s phone, calling your named contact in Korea to make sure they exist, and checking up on your accommodation. Once they’re satisfied that you have somewhere to go, you are escorted to a taxi

Cuba: land of rum and Pringles

I’ve never been anywhere as different as Cuba before. The first hint of difference came at the airport in Mexico as I queued to check in for my flight and looked around at all the other passengers and the luggage they were checking in – Each family had about fifteen large bags, some so heavy… Continue reading Cuba: land of rum and Pringles

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Ernest and me

There’s a pervasive Hemingwayness in Havana that’s hard to ignore. He had not one, but two favourite bars – La Bodeguita del Medio was his favourite mojito bar – so of course I had to try one – Then Floridita was his favourite daquiri bar – where he demanded a less girly version of the… Continue reading Ernest and me

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Categorised as Cuba