Sunday 6 October 2013


We are returning to Corfu for the first time since 1995 for a few days in October. One of the largest of the Ionian islands and with links going back to earliest Greek mythology - it contains some beautiful and stunning coastal scenery in the north of the island and is associated with the writer Lawrence Durrell and the naturalist Gerald Durrell  who lived there during a period in the 1930s. We're going very much outside the tourist season and hope to be able to get to some places well off the beaten track. Greece is suffering economic difficulties at the current time and we do feel fortunate to have the opportunity to travel at a time when so many Greeks will not be finding it so easy to do the same. As always, the best way to travel is with an open mind and hopefully I'll come back refreshed for the challenges ahead in 2014.

Sunday 5 May 2013

Swansea Bay

Took a walk along the cycle path that used to be the tramway which runs from the centre of Swansea down to Mumbles around the edge of Swansea Bay. The oldest tramway in the world and at its peak took thousands of local residents, holidaymakers and day trippers back and forwards with some stunning maritime scenery and also some modern industrial developments across the bay at Port Talbot.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Back in the Old Country

Arrival through a back door at Heathrow T5 on a battered airport bus as the plane had to embark us on the tarmac 'for operational reasons'. A low key arrival - always the best!

Thursday 18 April 2013

Time for Tea

We sampled a traditional Kazakhstan tea. A very smoky blend served from an ornate china pot with the milk already mixed. A selection of dried fruits, nuts, raisins, spices, spices, pastry and a sour curd cheese.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Atyrau Buildings

The Russian Orthodox Church
A local government building
Atyrau theatre

Sunday 14 April 2013

Belief and Faith

The Russian Orthodox Church is in the centre of Atyrau. I spent some time on a Sunday morning with the congregation who filed around the church in silence to take the communion wine and bread from the priest on duty. No photographs were allowed inside. I was struck by the silent dignity and belief even when the way of life appeared harsh to an outsider.

Monday 8 April 2013

On The Ball


I spent week-end time on the streets observing life, meeting people and kicking a ball with kids. The young footballers playing on the makeshift pitches in the ex-USSR residential areas all had their heroes from the players of the great European teams like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Chelsea, Man Utd, Ajax and PSG but I doubt any of those players had bigger smiles or bigger dreams than the kids who sought to emulate them.