Amours d’antan

I always knew this would be a tricky one to write. It’s hard to know where to begin. So for want of a better idea: * Many years ago… Although a big reader, I think I’ve always loved books (as objects) at least as much as their content. Seeing printed text in another language was…

Learning to Love

February 2016 My girlfriend’s mum has a friend who (until recently) lived in Madrid. She was once her PhD student in Turin, since turned researcher herself. They are both (as is my girlfriend) intelligent, beautiful, independent and driven. My girlfriend and her mum had visited this friend many times, often for the Christmas sales (which…

On Optimism and Pessimism

February 2016 And now we reach the moment when the EU referendum was set loose.  In February this year (can anyone else believe it was only so recent?), David Cameron set the date for the referendum and announced the few and slight concessions the EU were willing to make to ensure the UK’s continued membership….

The Magic Mix

December 2015 It’s a mess of overlapping pieces. Within the UK even there are (among countless others)  the Welsh, the Scots, the Northern Irish, the English, the Cornish, the Manx; West Country, Estuary, Northern, Southern; the four compass points of London and all the home countries. North or south of the river can divide families….


February 2015 On the trip that ended with me living in Granada, I passed through Strasbourg (a circuitous route). I was only there long enough to wash my clothes, see the beautiful old centre of Grande Île and have a couple of glasses of wine in the sun. It felt very safe, clean and full…