• Travel

    Torcello

    “Don’t look now,’ said John to his wife, ‘but there are two old girls two tables away, looking at me all the time. I don’t like it. There’s something very strange about their eyes.’ The wife, Laura, turned and saw what she saw and laughed as she commented that they were two men actually. He said: ‘…You mustn’t laugh. Perhaps they’re dangerous. Murderers or something going around Europe, changing their clothes in each place. You know, sisters here in Torcello this morning; brothers tomorrow, or tonight, back in Venice.’ We walked past a trattoria where Daphne du Maurier’s John and Laura might have sat as they demurred about the identity of the two…

  • Travel

    Glass for Princes in Murano

    A mile north off Venice is the cluster of islands called Murano. We crossed in a vaporetto (water taxi) from Venice to Murano on a day that was joyously sunny. The kinds that come wrapped up in a bow only once during a few miserably cold and foggy winter days spent in Venice. When we got off the boat at Murano, the first sight that greeted me was that of a bearded local dragging a sizeable carton on wheels . He looked like a fisherman, the lines of the years marked out on his weather-beaten face. A rustic, atmospheric introduction but what lay after was anything but unassuming. Workshops, boutiques and factories cropped up…

  • Travel

    Church with the Witch's Hat

    It is a gloriously nippy day because we have driven up north to Yorkshire for the weekend. A walk in the green, green dales can only do us good, right? We drove last night for about four hours and passed through Derbyshire. Descending the hilly roads in the county, a crooked spire much like the twisty hat of a witch loomed up ahead. For me, the market town of Chesterfield has become synonymous with its crooked spire. One Samuel Bromley even wrote a few lines for it in the mid-19th century. “Its ponderous steeple, pillared in the sky,     Rises with twist in pyramidal form,     And threatens danger to the…

  • Travel

    Burford & Bourton in the Wolds

    If you are in Bibury, you have to find your way to the delightful duo of Burford and Bourton-on-the-Water. I had written a post already on the town and village respectively but here’s a quick one on the knowhow of these two. The shots are of Burford from a year ago when I sported a short hairdo and went through life-without-long-mane-shedding-all-over-the-place moments. At one point, we dreamt of old age in Burford, of a future when we could buy a little cottage and go for long walks in the country followed by coffee and pottering around in the antique stores. It was actually quite wonderful to visualise it in our mind’s eye as my husband…

  • Travel

    Higgledy-Piggledy Bibury

    From the pages of Victorian England came the declaration that Bibury is the most beautiful village in England. It was the observation of artist and craftsman William Morris who lived in a manor nearby and loved his saunters through the village. Walk into Bibury and you know why. Most probably you will be walking along the River Coln with hordes of Asian tourists, especially the Japanese, because they have tenuous links with Bibury. Some say that a Japanese artist was inspired by the village during the ’70s and others maintain that Emperor Hirohito, the leader of their country during WWII who had led them into the Sino-Japanese War, had fallen in…

  • Asia

    On the Sand Dunes of Sam

    Chiselled by the winds stand the sand dunes of Sam. They are an overwhelming sight. All those sandy yellow waves and nothing thereafter for miles. It is a sight that can make you feel like a speck in an ocean of sand. Once in a while, a row of camels can be spotted, swaying their lazy behinds and walking off into the horizon with human loads on their humps. I have sat on a camel twice now. Two occasions when I somehow clung on to the camel as it decided to make rude noises and threaten to throw me off its back. I would not blame it on hindsight. We humans…

  • Travel

    When Doris Came Visiting

    Doris was moody. She almost plucked the ponytail off my head for daring to mess with her. As I ran past her, my large headphones on my ears and Cohen crooning into them, a school girl giggled at me as she almost seemed to say, “Look at crazy Doris.” Ooh, Doris was icy alright and she showed me an entire range of emotions in the matter of a couple of hours. I am talking about the storm that hit our good ol’ blighty with gusts going up to 100mph. What did you think?