Showing posts from October, 2015

Is Travelling Really Brutal?

We returned earlier this week from 10 days away, travelling primarily around the coastline of Norfolk and Suffolk. We forget, sometimes, just how interesting our own country is and often how little we have seen of it, in the mad dash to experience distant cultures and kinder climates.  Why travel? What do we want from it? What is our strategy? Yes Mister E and I were considering these questions whilst travelling around Albania  and I have continued to ponder. Whilst away this time, however, I came across the following quote by the renowned post-war Italian poet, Cesare Pavese: "Travelling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things- air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky- all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it." A path to the eternal or the imagination of a spiritual plain; I h

Volunteering Anew

With the European migrant crisis dominating the headlines all summer, I have been moved to take action. Whilst I do not wish to over commit myself with voluntary work, Save the Children, founded as a result of famine following the First World War continues to be active throughout the World where children are suffering and has been appealing for Community Campaigners. The role involves liaising with the media, lobbying Members of Parliament and networking both in person and online in order to raise awareness.    I applied and, despite a very early train journey, attended an Induction Day in Edinburgh. It was lovely to meet so many committed people of all ages and backgrounds and I only hope that I can play my part to help alleviate some of the horrors that have filled our television screens of late. In addition I have also taken on the role of Parish Clerk for the Civil Parish in which I reside, after an appeal for a volunteer appeared to be going unheeded. Fortunate

Travelling Books

During a career of perusing and absorbing paperwork I inevitably developed the gift of speed reading. It is useful when travelling as I can comfortably settle down in my aircraft or train seat, open a novel and forget myself until shortly before arrival, when, all being well, I will have finished the book and enjoyed a journey of emotion, humour and adventure en route to my destination. It can be embarrassing if the text moves me to tears or to laugh out loud but an old fashioned handkerchief or paper tissue is normally relied upon to come to the rescue. This month I picked a somewhat mixed selection for my travels and on my outward journey to Greece and Albania read "The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden." Easy reading, funny and with a taste of the international; what better way to start a trip? On the return journey I was seduced by Jim Crace's "Harvest," transported back in time across the centuries to a simpler but harsher time, it was intriguin

Autumn Colour

Every season has something special to offer, but the colours of autumn are always there to be enjoyed. It is something that perhaps in my previous life I frequently ignored in the haste to fulfil other commitments. The falling leaves also hastened the knowledge that the daily commute would soon be undertaken in the dark, both there and back. No wonder that in my working days Spring was always a more favourable option. This week however I have revelled in the glorious reds and golds of the season. Not least when I met an old friend at a mid-way point in Yorkshire between our homes. Autumn is glorious and now I don't have to go out in the dark mornings and nights every weekday, I think that there is something almost snug about the shortening days!


Prior to staying on Lefkas, Mister E and I toured Albania. Ever since I spotted its mountains on a visit to Northern Greece, I have been intrigued to discover the country that lay within them with its isolated and closeted past. We were not disappointed although I would struggle to describe Albania as a conventional holiday destination. Just over twenty years since it rid itself of the dictatorship by which it was governed, it has made strident progress in turning itself into a modern nation with an application for EEC membership pending. It is not however easy to turn yourself from an impoverished and friendless nation into a modern 21st century democracy, but Albania continues to work on its challenge. The people are not only hospitable but also exceedingly funny; they dress smartly, use the Latin alphabet (with a few additional letters) and the English language is widely spoken. I had expected to run into difficulties when I read that Albanians shake their heads to indicate

The Rugby World Cup

View image | We arrived back in England on Sunday to find the country in the midst of hosting the Rugby World Cup and itself already eliminated from the competition. You might think that would be sufficient to avoid all further interest on my part in the tournament. However, yesterday I returned to the gym I frequent with a view to making amends for the inevitable overindulgence and lack of vigorous exercise that go hand in hand with a good holiday. It seemed that not only had I missed England's vital games but also the arrival of New Zealand's All Blacks at the hotel to which the gym is linked. However, and with their next match scheduled to take place in Newcastle on Friday they were still very much in evidence, not least in the pool and spa areas. Needless to say the Aquafit class in which I regularly participate had a far higher attendance of members than normal. Who says that retired ladies are too old to admire the toned muscles of thos

Souvenirs and Memories

Oh dear it has been a while since I made an entry here, attributable, I do not regret, to the pursuit of  travels. Remember that bucket list I referred to earlier? Well last week we were exploring another Greek Island, this time Lefkas, again in the Ionian Sea. Whilst it did not prove to be my favourite Greek Island, I was still captivated by the amazing effect of light and the extent to which the colour blue is all pervading.  It is perhaps unsurprising that the Greek word for light is "phos" when everything gleams at you phosphorescently.  Lefkas Town is made up of an array of brightly coloured properties many adorned with even brighter coloured plants and flowers.  The town was hit by earthquakes in 1948 and 1953 and was, apart from numerous old Italian Churches which survived, rebuilt using a unique wooden frame technique designed to withstand further tremors. It is a distinct change to the usual whitewashed concrete. With the bright colou