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’.
Amsterdam’s brown cafes are said to be timeless – but how useful would a 1969 guidebook be in the present day city? Stepping into my friend John’s apartment is like falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Walls lined with books waiting to transport the unsuspecting to worlds of fantasy and the realms of imagination. At the very least to a step back into the past. … Continue reading Amsterdam’s Brown Cafes – A Time Travellers Trip.