We spent the British summer (grim, grey and shower after shower) in Weymouth, looking after the gorgeous Harley and Tully, and Batman the cat. (I cannot think of Batman without that soundtrack running through my head). The dogs were gorgeous cocker spaniels; so pretty with ruffled ears like flowing locks. Tully, small and nimble, golden like soft brown sugar. Harley, always with a lopsided cheeky … Continue reading Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.
It’s well known that the English are eccentric. ‘Only mad dogs and English men…’ and all that. Nothing expresses this national characteristic more than the passion for folly building. Aristocrats with more money than sense set up turreted towers, sham castles and ornamental gateways on hill-tops, in gardens, and in the middle of nowhere, for no better reason than that they could. These places are … Continue reading Foibles and Follies.
Only one day in Paris! What to do? We went to our favourite museum – Musée d’Orsay – and I became spellbound by the face of a woman who lived 95 years ago. What do I see when I look in your pale, oval face? Hair neatly parted, scraped back in a bun. Deftness. Quietude. A certain passivity. You don’t look like you’d be the … Continue reading Madame Cezanne.
The padlocked wrought-iron gates barred our way. In the inner courtyard, a flock of twenty-something pigeons took flight as one, filling the silence with a flutter of wings, and the emptiness with a scratch of charcoal grey. In the eastern cemetery a skinny fox sauntered amongst the tombstones, turning to look back at us, tongue lolling from the corner of his mouth, before he disappeared … Continue reading Highgate Cemetery. Fairyland With An Edge.
‘Well done. The kids will be delighted’, she said as she turned to face us, trowel poised mid-air, ‘We were a bit short-handed this year, we didn’t have time to put out the explanations.’ It was the music notes that gave it away – although, I admit, not to me, but to Jim. Those, and the big fat moustache. The trowel plunged downwards again and … Continue reading ‘Excuse Me, Is That Elgar?’
We’d been waiting for April 1st. Not for the blossom but to be able to buy our Grutto pass – a discount coupon booklet which would unlock the world of Tokyo’s museums and art galleries. Our first venture was to the small Amuse museum – a museum/shop complex – the whole of Tokyo is like a Russian doll – in a small building near Senso-Ji. … Continue reading Bodo. Gone But Not Forgotten.
‘I’m naughty Kate’, she said, extending her hand, and looking at me over the top of her glasses. Her eyes sparkled, but it was clear she was a force to be reckoned with. She continued making her jewellery, painstakingly threading beads onto cotton, as she told me her story. ‘I have two children,’ she said, a boy and a girl, but there’s sixteen years between … Continue reading Kate’s Story.
‘As you get older you begin to look back; you think of your roots, because you know you’re soon going to be a part of those roots’, Henk mused as we bit into biltong and drank coffee out of tin mugs. Maybe that’s what the search for Alf was all about Alfred Faulding Tomlinson was – like me – a ‘yellow belly’: a Lincolnshire lad, hailing … Continue reading In Search Of Alf.
I can never stay up for New Year. I turn into a pumpkin around ten in the evening. But this year I got a second bite of the cherry with a Tweede Nuwe Jaar. (Literally second New Year). The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival has its origins in the days of slavery, when farmers gave their slaves a day off. Bursting with music, merriment and magic … Continue reading The Kaapse Klopse.
Tobeka met us at the bus stop, welcoming us to the place where she lives. ‘Over there, are the beautiful houses where the white people live’, she said pointing; ‘over there on the hill is a township where coloured people live, and this is Imizamo Yethu, where the black people live.’ Behind us ranged a ramshackle row of shacks, slanting into the hillside, random pieces … Continue reading Imizamo Yethu. ‘Our Combined Effort’.