Category Travel

Broken

Only the great architect Antoni Gaudí would think to decorate the chimneys of his Casa Milà in Barcelona with broken ceramic and champagne bottles. The rooftop is a marvel, and we caught it on a crisp autumn day last year. Do see it if you can. I am linking this post up to WordPress’s Weekly […]

Four million

Yesterday, four million Britons voted for the most racist and xenophobic party to have emerged in the UK for decades. I am guessing not many of them will be giving much thought to the citizens of other European countries who today are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War […]

Great skies at night

I grew up only 50 miles from London, in a village which was connected to the rest of the world by a bus, and not very much else. Living far from school meant that we quickly developed a degree of independence which I think is probably unusual in children today. Every day, from the age […]

A seventeenth century convergence

The diamond-pattern box parterre at Ham House in London is filled with Dutch Lavender. This forms part of extensive and beautiful seventeenth century gardens just a short walk from the River Thames, and barely changed in 300 years. It’s a lovely place to picnic. I am linking this post up to WordPress’s photo challenge on […]

The sacred and profane

This monochrome floor, complete with swastikas, is in Pompeii, one of many hidden by volcanic ash for more than 1,500 years following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Almost all the city’s inhabitants died that day but their everyday objects remained: tables, beds, and chairs, these mosaic floors and some intricately decorated walls. The […]

The #Flying100 Family Holiday Challenge

My son J was nearly seven when I met him, and the last thing on my mind that first blissful summer was flying off into the sun. Just the opposite in fact. He’d had a very difficult start to life and had spent four years in foster care. So we stayed put so that J […]

A train, a plane and another milestone

I wrote my first post for Travels with my Son exactly a year ago. I meant my blog to be a place to record my memories of J’s early days with me, and of our travels together. Of course I meant ‘travels’ in the sense of both our journeys to places with suitcases, and our […]

The naked apes

I have to be a bit careful what I say here as my father may be reading. I wouldn’t want to embarrass him now, although he had no such scruples when my sister and I were teenagers. Our parents were naturists, and if you have never watched your parents cavort naked on a French beach […]

Where danger lurks

With adventure comes risk, but these photographs were taken not in a war zone or in a scientific compound, but on the street where children are free to walk. What kind of world have we created for ourselves? I am linking this post up to WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme of Adventure.

A change of plan

So the plan last weekend was to take a two hour train ride from Lucca to Riomaggiore on the coast, and then walk from Riomaggiore to Monterosso via the three coastal villages of Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza. This stretch of coastline, and the five villages, are all part of Italy’s Cinque Terre National Park and […]

On songs, and bareback horse racing

Yesterday I stood in the shade and cried a little as I listened to men singing together in the street. I am on holiday in Siena with my son J, during the run-up to the Palio, an extraordinary bareback horse dash around the massive Piazza del Campo which takes place every 16th August, and has […]

Weekly photo challenge: Texture

My son J and I are walking the length of the South Downs Way together, a distance of 100 miles or 161 kilometres, between Eastbourne and Winchester in the South of England. This journey travels the spine of the chalky Downs, sometimes following coastal paths, but mostly straying far inland. This post, on the theme […]

I love you. I love you. I love you.

This rather surly and uncommunicative young man is a far cry from the hyped seven year old who set out with me for three weeks in Croatia all those years ago. The eyes are the same, though his lashes and eyebrows have darkened and coarsened with puberty. Step to his side, and the streak of […]

Flow’rs of middle summer

      Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram; The marigold that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun, That with him rises weeping; these are flow’rs Of middle summer, and I think they are given To men of middle age.   There is nothing …. and no, really I mean nothing….. that I would rather do […]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

One day last summer we took a boat from Kaş on the Turkish coast out to the Greek island of Kastellorizo (or Meis, its Turkish name), a few kilometres away. My father and son and I whiled away a few hours by the picturesque harbour, eating and drinking, and observing the quiet comings and goings […]