Of Enosis and Taksim

10th October 2017 3% of the island of Cyprus is British territory. The military bases there, like Gibraltar and Northern Ireland, provide the UK with multiple land borders with the EU. The island – by then, used to conquerors – was useful to the British and their american allies for keeping tabs on the Soviets…

Summer Break

8th September 2017 When the sun comes out in London, the capital is a great place to be. The city is very green and full of rooftop bars and pub gardens. And the weather is nicer than most people imagine. But that’s over now. This week has been grey and miserable. Somehow, I prefer working…

A Funny Ol’ Year

23rd June 2017 It has been a good twelve months. A change from the morning of 24th June 2016, when I went to sleep (in Spain), head spinning from the EU referendum results. Since then, I’ve been to six Spanish cities, to Frankfurt briefly (twice); I learned some Italian in Bologna (where I was told…

Torn to Pieces

23rd February 2017 I was reading an article the other day about faultlines across Europe. The most obvious from the papers is that of the nationalist, populist mood against the increasingly-derogatory term Europhile. This in-out, inclusive-exclusive divide reacts to the others.  In England, we want to “take back control” from Brussels but jealously resist devolving…

Far from Bavaria

3rd December 2016 There’s a tradition in London wherein Londoners spend December telling each other how great Winter Wonderland is and how you really must go. It is a huge funfair in Hyde Park that is Christmas-themed and rammed full of people. I really couldn’t see the attraction. Now, when it comes to Christmas markets,…

Ghosts of Seasons Past

I thought I’d try to get this in while it’s still kind of relevant. A little festive romp through Europe.  * December 2014 ‘Twas the night before the night before Christmas eve and my two Irish friends descended upon London. We crashed my mum’s “work party” (cocktails with her only employee, my stepdad) and went…

Stumbling Silhouettes

25th September 2016 With my Italian girlfriend and a Spanish friend and her English boyfriend (both of whom did an Erasmus year in Italy), I went to Il Meecato Metropolitano. The one thing I will consistently praise in London is its food scene. I can eat great food from any corner of the world. This…

Growing Up

September 2016 About a year ago, I was introduced to a group of Spaniards and told to “say something”. Everyone was very amused by my southern Spanish accent. (It was a step up from the older madrileña I met on a flight once who asked “Can we speak in English? Your Spanish is ugly,”). One…

Terrorised

2001 After 9/11 and with many of our parents working in the centre of London, my school lifted its nascent ban on mobile phones. Our heavy, monochrome mobiles (mine still had an antenna) would be allowed on school premises, kept in our lockers, in case we were called upon to jam the networks attempting to…

A Dark Day at the Beach

June 2016 And so we’re back where this blog began. I’ve tried to show the extent to which my life has been shaped by Europe (studying in France; living in Spain; friends from across the continent) and I’ve described some of the memorable experiences I’ve had in my continent since the idea of the EU…

Edinburgh

March 2016 At the beginning of this year, my brother moved with his girlfriend to Edinburgh. It wasn’t that long ago that the furthest north I had been (in the world) was Oxford.  But I’ve been edging north with trips to Cambridge, Coventry, Lincoln and Manchester. Always keen for free accomodation in a new city,…

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….