France – Provence

Gordes looks spectacular as it tumbles down the hillside towards the Luberon Valley. The houses and hotels appear well-kept and largely unspoilt with clumps of trees and the occasional swimming pool breaking up the sporadic pattern of buildings. Gordes doesn’t immediately strike the visitor as a place where wealthy people live, but that is probablyContinue reading “France – Provence”

Beagle Chasing

On Easter Monday in Atherstone in Warwickshire an unusual sports event takes place that attracts hundreds of competitors. It’s the annual Beagle Chasing extravaganza, which dates from the restoration of Charles II in 1660. The chasing takes place over a number of distances and comprises individual and team events. There are no separate races forContinue reading “Beagle Chasing”

France – Nimes

Nimes is famous for its Roman sights including the Amphitheatre and the Maison Carree. There are others too in the Jardin de la Fontaine including The Temple of Diana and the symbol of Nimes, the Tour Magne. The Amphitheatre, called Les Arenes, is the most visited sight in the city. Although there are larger RomanContinue reading “France – Nimes”

Mama Rooney

Greenmarket Square is at the heart of Cape Town. This small space holds a busy open-air market where traders from as far north as Congo come to sell their carvings, paintings, jewellery, and instruments. Walking around there’s plenty of good-natured banter from all the traders, both male and female; “How are you boss?”, “Would youContinue reading “Mama Rooney”

The cat plays a game

Freddie and Gemma both used to play a game on me. The game would start when I was sitting right in front of the cat. The cat would suddenly look over my shoulder with great intensity and stare at the wall behind me. I would look at the cat and say “What’s the matter, Freddie?”Continue reading “The cat plays a game”

Breathless in Valencia

The Miguelete is a round tower that’s part of the cathedral in Valencia. There are 207 steps to the top and they get narrower the higher you get. They also get slippier so make sure to wear strong shoes with a good grip. People ascend and descend using the same steps, which is fine atContinue reading “Breathless in Valencia”

Dracula Race, Romania

Vlad Tepes, who signed himself Dracula, was born in the Transylvanian town of Sighisoara in the winter of 1431. The Old Town with its cobbled streets and beautiful buildings is a magnet for tourists during the months of summer. However, on December 21st the town is inundated with visitors for the annual Dracula race thatContinue reading “Dracula Race, Romania”

Cat under the bath

About six months after the incident with the walling, we decided to have the bath replaced. This work should have been done within the day, but the taps still hadn’t been fitted by the time the workmen left. There was only a small hole at the head of the bath, but before retiring to bedContinue reading “Cat under the bath”

Pintxos – San Sebastian

In Spain’s Basque country it is important to know a few words of the Basque language especially in the city of San Sebastian. This hotbed of Basque nationalism is known as Donostia locally and there are other words visitors should become acquainted with. The most important is pintxos. In the Basque Country there are noContinue reading “Pintxos – San Sebastian”

Manton Rempville – Part 3

Barnes drove his Morgan down the carefully manicured driveway of Manton Rempville Hall, while Knowles stared at the yew hedges, which had been sheared into interesting shapes that he couldn’t quite recognise. After they’d parked, Knowles walked over to one of the hedges and pointed. “What do you think they’re supposed to be, Barnesy, theseContinue reading “Manton Rempville – Part 3”