Every infantry man in a combat zone loves to hear a Chinook. Wop, wop, wop, you can hear the characteristic sound, you know what it is but you can’t see it. The twin rotor helicopter is coming in at 160 mph with 10 tons of stores and ammunition or re-enforcements. Once it lands, it will be there for 60 seconds, there will be no departure delays, no last calls for passengers, no check in queues. What isn’t taken off or loaded within the time is left where it is. [Read more…] about Chinook
José Ascaso had been riding his chestnut mare most of the day and was beginning to feel tired. Together, they had made good progress deep into the Pyrenean valley alongside Rio Ara. His plan was to spend the night in Broto, a small mountain town, and ride on into Ordesa Gorge the next day. The valley had become steep and narrow with the mountains rising to 6000 feet on both sides. He hoped to spot the Lammergeier, it is known to fly in the gorge. It is a large vulture with a wingspan of almost 3 metres and weighing up to 7 Kg. It feeds on bone after the other vultures have taken the flesh of dead animals. [Read more…] about Exclusive – Chandler’s Ford man found in Pyrenees
My post last week was the first part of my interview with Martin Kryle, former local Liberal Democrat councillor and published author. His book Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, edited by Barbara Large , is now out.
Reviews are crucial for all writers and one for this book reads:- [Read more…] about Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway – Part 2: Martin Kyrle interview
Martin Kyrle, one of the authors of Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway, is best known locally as a former Liberal Democrat Councillor. He served on the Chandler’s Ford committee for 50 years. He wrote his new book based on notes he kept as he travelled and long term friend, Michael Roberts, took the photographs. [Read more…] about The Trans-Siberian Railway: Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts
Out in Sri Lanka there is an interesting group of people, the ex-pats. These people have decided to make their lives on the tropical island for a number of reasons. None of them is quite sure where home is, here, there, or somewhere else. Perhaps home is a different concept for them, home is where they happen to be today. Here are the stories of some of them. [Read more…] about Ex-Pats Lives; Where is Home?
The house of my childhood has been demolished. I am told that the staircase, complete, is for sale. It is solid teak, of excellent quality, impervious to termites. Someone said that one of us should buy it.
Buy a staircase? The million times I ran up and down those stairs, chased by my brothers and sisters, running up to complain to father, running down for dinner. If I buy that staircase, with its brass fixtures and its knurled banisters, will I hear father coming down in his wooden clogs? See the emerald green of his eyes? Will my mother give me refuge from the persecuting siblings? Will I hear the gentle shuffle of her feet? [Read more…] about A Staircase for Sale
My first son was born in Delhi in 1987. Two months after his birth, like Prince Siddhartha Gautama of Lumbini, I kissed my sleeping wife and son and travelled to Rishikesh, located in the foothills of the Himalayas. I didn’t know then that I would return there 22 years later. But that is another story, to be written when I have the mental fortitude to narrate it.
For now, let me tell you about my spiritual quest and how unlike Prince Siddhartha, I failed to become the Buddha or the enlightened. [Read more…] about Experiments with Spirituality
For a pre-Christmas treat I took my wife on a special trip. She dressed beautifully in mainly white with her large sunhat and a pair of gold lame shoes. I like to give a girl a good time and I had heard of this place up in the hills near Kurunegalla in the centre of Sri Lanka. Not many girls get a chance to visit there.
We drove up a narrow lane through an attractive area of jungle to a small settlement with a couple of bungalows and installations of mining equipment. [Read more…] about Give a Girl Some Graphite
What is special about this card key that occupies a prominent place in my museum of memories? The story may amuse you, but to me it is just one episode from a long list reinforcing my lifelong suspicion that I am the unsuspecting protagonist in a never-ending series of candid camera.
I was in South Tyneside College to attend a course on high voltage electric propulsion, in connection with an investigation. I had rung ahead to a nice hotel located by the sea and asked for a room with a sea view, but when I checked in, was told that all the rooms with sea views were taken. Nothing new there; I rarely got a hotel room with a view. [Read more…] about Room 235
I have just returned from a trip of a lifetime – a visit to an Emperor Penguin colony on the frozen Weddell Sea within the Antarctica Continent.
Yes it was a bit of a hike to get there. It took me a couple of days to travel to the gathering point in Punta Arenas, Chile. [Read more…] about Trip of a Lifetime – My Antarctic Trip
We don’t normally see the name ‘Chandler’s Ford’ being mentioned in the national news (ok, the HSBC armed robbery on Bournemouth Road in September 2007 was an exception: “Two armed robbers were shot dead by police”).
However today, ‘Chandler’s Ford’ is mentioned all over the media, from The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Mirror…, and on the BBC radio programme. [Read more…] about Roger Clark’s Quest to Antarctica to Photograph the Right Penguins
As you know by now, I love train travel but I’m pleased to say I am easily outdone (in terms of distance and time taken to complete the journey) by two local authors who are bringing out a new book shortly.
The furthest I’ve been in a day from Chandler’s Ford Station is York (to date anyway!) but the new book, written by Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts, is called Jottings from the Trans-Siberian Railway. Now there is considerable commitment to long distance train travel! [Read more…] about Book Launch News: Martin Kyrle and Michael Roberts
I was on board Lord Nelson ship at the Seed2Sailing – the launch party for this year’s Jubilee Sailing Trust Autumn Pumpkin Festival and Scarecrow Avenue, which will take place on Saturday 8th Oct 2016.
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;”
Sea Fever by John Masefield
[Read more…] about Life aboard a Tall Ship: Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Ship Lord Nelson
In the age of steam every boy wanted to be an engine driver. In my boyhood this desire became a fighter pilot and in modern times it might be an astronaut or a pop star. The nearest I got to being a fighter pilot was to sit in the cockpit of a spitfire and press the firing button. Then came the jet age and we aspired to becoming test pilots.
(Editor’s note: For new readers to Chandler’s Ford Today, just to say that once in a while this site has kind of become Sri Lanka Today, while our well-loved writer from Chandler’s Ford travelled to Sri Lanka as analysing snake poisons seems to be a fun hobby when you retire.
A few more interesting stories from Sri Lanka will soon appear in the next few days. Happy reading!)
To get to our house in Kandy we have to go through a tunnel. The alternative is a 3 km detour. The other day we had the Granddaddy of Tropical Storms with torrential rain from 3.00 pm until about 3.00 am. In the morning the tunnel was blocked and we had to get to work via another route. [Read more…] about Dispatches from Sri Lanka – The Tunnel in Kandy
Two or three times a year, the coconut boy comes around to harvest the coconuts. This year he was delayed as there has been so much rain it has left the palm trunks slippery.
There are six coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) in our garden here and they all have a ‘loverly bunch’ on them. Two of the trees are King Coconut, a variety of large yellow nut found in Sri Lanka. [Read more…] about Dispatches from Sri Lanka: a Loverly Bunch of Coconuts
Some of the fringe benefits of owning and walking a dog include getting to discover some beautiful areas of Hampshire. Some of these are on our doorstep in Chandler’s Ford. One of those is The Monarch’s Way, which is a short drive away, and takes you into some glorious countryside.
This post shares some of my thoughts on the walking and wildlife found in and around The Monarch’s Way. [Read more…] about Hidden Hampshire: The Monarch’s Way
It is good to be back in Sri Lanka. We have been here enough times now to feel it is a second home. All those weird tropical things are becoming familiar. I had forgotten how noisy the night is after rain. All those frogs and things calling out for a mate. The fireflies too, silent and magical in the darkness. [Read more…] about Back to Sri Lanka
After two days driving through France we arrived at our gîte in Provence for a holiday.
It is a delightful place in a 40 acre estate of olive trees and a lavender field. There were no guests in the other gîtes so we had the whole place, including 3 swimming pools to ourselves. One border of the estate was a river and half a mile upriver was a waterfall or cascade as the French call them. [Read more…] about The Waterfall
Are you a tourist or a traveller?
With the holiday season upon us, you have probably already decided. Travelling can be nerve-wracking. What’s the difference?
Shall we say that a traveller decides where to go and arranges it, but a tourist buys a dream sold by a travel company. [Read more…] about Travellers Need Brains