Granada’s Albayzin.

  Everyday we walked through the Albayzin along the Barranco de las Naranjas and Barranco de los Negros – romantic names which conjured up images of the Moors, their legends and history – on cobblestone paths, past white-washed cave houses, cactus plants, scrubland, and at every turn there was one glorious view of the Alhambra after another. Past an ad-hoc cafe that made use of … Continue reading Granada’s Albayzin.

The grass really is greener in the Dordogne.

Not many people can say that they moved to France because they had to find room to house twenty-four animals. Roland used to work at Scotland Yard. He had a colleague in the mounted police. There is no money in the British system for pensions for police work-horses. The police can hardly fund sufficient policemen, let alone keep old horses in clover. Roland’s colleague knew … Continue reading The grass really is greener in the Dordogne.

Things To Do In Pillac When It’s Raining.

We came to the Charente in the hope of warmer weather. But the rain followed us from England. What to do? Eat.  George and his James Bond villain stare. ‘Give me more biscuits or I kill you’. Play.  Max lost out in the game of musical chairs and begged to play ball indoors instead. Sleep. Charley dispelled the myth that cats go out on the … Continue reading Things To Do In Pillac When It’s Raining.

Royston Cave. One Of The Most Mysterious Places In England.

The only thing Google came up with when I did a quick search of tourist attractions around Buntingford was Royston Cave. ‘Not interested’, I thought, and resigned myself to three weeks of reading books, sorting out Tokyo photos and playing catch up with blog writing. But after a week of damp, mist, and leaden skies I was going a little stir-crazy and suddenly a visit … Continue reading Royston Cave. One Of The Most Mysterious Places In England.

Henry Moore And Intelligent Sheep.

We recognised Henry Moore’s statues instantly – all those monumental curves and glistening bronzes – but we realised we knew nothing about Moore, the man. We would have been hard pushed to tell you what he looked like. So, our first stop at the Henry Moore Foundation was Hoglands, Moore’s home for half a century. Even today, Hoglands feels like it’s in the middle of … Continue reading Henry Moore And Intelligent Sheep.

Buntingford.

We have just completed a house-sitting in the delightfully named Buntingford – it’s as if the flags are always out, and the town is in a permanent state of excitement – but, in spite of it’s name, we were not looking forward to our visit. Previously, Sophie and Bobby, our two Labrador charges, lived in the New Forest. (Out of Season. Out of Time.) When … Continue reading Buntingford.

Hello Kitty!

Tokyo’s obsession with cats. ‘Hello Kitty’, cat-ears in pop culture, maneki neko lucky cats, the home of the original cat cafe – Japan is seemingly obsessed with moggies, and Tokyo is no exception. There are temples dedicated to cats. In a small corner at Gotokuji there are hundreds of lucky cat figures, their little arms raised in greeting. Small ones perched on stone ledges, looked … Continue reading Hello Kitty!

Noodles!

Eating Out in Tokyo.  There are shops selling them on nearly every corner. Movies have been made about them. They’ve got Michelin stars. There are even museums dedicated to them. Jim could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m talking noodles. Noodles – simple bowls full of goodness – seem quite complicated to me. There’s such a lot of choice. Ramen, udon, soba… At … Continue reading Noodles!

Religious Atheists.

Ask almost any Tokyoite and they’ll tell you ‘I’m not religious’. ‘Don’t ask me if I’m Shinto or Buddhist. I’ll be very embarrassed’, said our guide in Asakusa. But shrines and temples litter the city – they are everywhere, in the corners of car parks, on busy streets, down alleys, surrounded by high towers and modern buildings; we come across them in the most unlikely … Continue reading Religious Atheists.