The United Kingdom is a fusion of four old countries that have fought wars together and with others. It has had kings, princes, invaders, usurpers, pretenders, bishops, priests and parliamentarians who have fought among themselves. Going back into archaeological time and pre-history and even in legend there have been conflicts of people and ideas of which we know little. No wonder that the country is littered with old castles, battlefields, abbeys, forts and earthworks. [Read more…] about Ruins, what to Do with ’em?
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 new Footbridge at the level crossing by Sutherlands Way in Chandler’s Ford has now opened to the public.
I walked on the footbridge yesterday with my son and marvelled at the beauty of this architecture. The footbridge was open to the public last Friday.
(My son insisted this event in Chandler’s Ford was more important than what happened in the USA on that day.) [Read more…] about New Footbridge: Chandler’s Ford to Valley Park
Who could tell me what has happened to the trees by Monks Brook in Valley Park?
In our walk yesterday afternoon we saw many trees had been cut down. [Read more…] about What has happened to the trees by Monks Brook in Valley Park?
Have you seen the new footbridge at the level crossing by Sutherlands Way in Chandler’s Ford yet?
You can’t use it just yet, but it looks like this:
(Update 24 Jan 2017: you can now walk on the bridge: New Footbridge: Chandler’s Ford to Valley Park) [Read more…] about New Footbridge at the Level Crossing by Sutherlands Way in Chandler’s Ford
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
Someone intending to visit the UK for the first time asked me for some tips on British etiquette. This is what I came up with.
Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet once wrote A Man’s a Man for a’ That. My advice to you therefore is – be yourself and you will be fine. However, since you ask, I will jot down some thoughts accumulated over a quarter of a century on this island. [Read more…] about British Etiquette: a Survivor’s Guide
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
My memory is leaving me.
This morning I packed a suitcase with clothes and my Hungarian goose down pillow ready for my next business trip. The intention was to leave the suitcase in the office, so I could travel at short notice. But then I met the crossword man on the platform and started chatting to him. We were soon joined by Jan, my colleague, and the three of us talked about heirlooms and how these were more valuable than Nikon cameras and so on. Generally shooting the breeze, but enough to make me forget all about my suitcase which I had stored on the luggage rack near the doors. [Read more…] about Memory: I am Sure I Knew What it Meant
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
Tomorrow morning I’ll be heading for Eastleigh for the Eastleigh Christmas lights switch on and fun day.
Sound exciting, doesn’t it?
(So many coffee shops to choose from in Eastleigh. Tell me: which coffee shop should I visit tomorrow?) [Read more…] about Eastleigh Christmas Lights Switch On and Fun Day; Winter Open Studios 2016
Sri Lanka reveals itself more interesting the longer one stays here. We are back here in Kandy to study snake bites and Brenda is teaching and working to improve the library at a poor school.
I decided to research some of the improvements in the country since Independence in 1948 and got involved with some historians. The idea is to link events around the first road ever built in Sri Lanka, their A1 from Colombo to Kandy. Near the start of the road is the temple of Kelaniya. [Read more…] about Buddhist Rituals
Sometimes I write reviews of concerts and shows; sometimes I write about places to go for a day out. This post isn’t intended to be either of those, though it may look a bit like both.
Last week I fulfilled an ambition I’ve held for several years by going to see the stage version of The Railway Children. This was one of my most-loved books as a child (and that of my sister too), and the 1970 film is undoubtedly one of my all-time favourites. [Read more…] about Review: The Railway Children
A new coffee shop has opened in Eastleigh town centre.
Now, your reaction to this might be “Bill Bryson was right; Eastleigh needs a new coffee shop like a fish needs a bicycle”.
In a previous post Coffee vs Discount in Eastleigh I pondered the reasons for the consumer demand for expensive coffee. [Read more…] about Too Many Coffee Shops in Eastleigh? Think Again.
One place that is always a joy to visit is beautiful Bath, which is an UNESCO Heritage site.
The trip from our station gets you to Romsey in just over 5 minutes and from there the Romsey to Bath journey takes about an hour and twenty minutes. [Read more…] about Away Days: Bath by Allison Symes
On return from holiday in the early evening we hired a taxi from Southampton Parkway Station and arrived safely home shortly afterwards. It was a nice clean taxi with a pleasant and helpful driver. [Read more…] about In Praise of Eastleigh Taxis