Category Archives for England


Science, World Schooling and, Ya Know, Stuff

Heart Stuff

After a long weekend in a castle – my “little” cousin, who, in my head, is still a rather sulky teen, but in reality is a fully grown and charming adult with an insanely lucrative job, has hired it for the weekend to treat the family – the boy and I head back to the […]


I Haven’t Got This Coming Home Lark Right

View of Hampton Court and Gardens.

Back in London, for the first time in 18 months, after more than three years away, I have a list of people I need to see and things I want to do metaphorically as long as my arm. Things to do are easy enough. But the people take some wrangling, not least… Well… In a […]


In an English Country Garden

View of Hardwick Hall, from the lake.

We stayed up there, somewhere, around 20 of us in varying waves over the week, for a long-planned family reunion. The cousins practiced their best gurns and zombie faces in front of Hardwick New Hall, the monogrammed monument that Bess of Hardwick built as a huge F.U. to her fourth and richest husband. Not that […]


To Physio and Beyond

Ducks on a lake in rural Norfolk.

King’s Cross station, like the rest of London, has been quite ludicrously poshed up, although, reassuringly, there are still the same works underway that there were when we left, over three years ago, and, if memory serves, for several years before that. Still infused with the rationality of Mongolian and Chinese rail systems, I signally […]


Cities Change, But Some Things Stay the Same

Zac, Fred and Aslan in Stokey.

It’s noon when we hit London, and Gatwick, an absolute armpit of an airport that’s currently being disimproved by overdue improvements. Once we’re past the usual long, ugly, angry queues at immigration, I notice, bleakly, how very unaesthetic my countryfolk are as a nation compared to, say, the Swedes or the Thais – Americans, insert […]


Next Time I’m Getting A Flu Shot

Plague doctor image from early manuscript.

Until, ooh, about six weeks ago, I was one of those irritating people who’d bang on and on about their marvelous immune system and how they NEVER get sick when travelling. You know the sort… Oysters in Thailand. Ceviche in Kenya. Mysterious stews in Guatemalan eateries with pigs foraging in the mud around the tables, […]


A Big Day Out

Houses of Parliament

How much of London can you see in a single day? Armed with a London Pass and the very best intentions to get out of bed early, the boy and I endeavoured to find out. You might not have heard of the London Pass — I certainly hadn’t. But it’s a smart card that lets […]


The Friday Photo: Tower Bridge


We’ve spent most of this week being tourists in London, which used to be our home town. And Tower Bridge, the late Victorian edifice that spans the Thames besides the Tower of London, is a London icon: the middle part splits and raises so that tall ships can pass through. It doesn’t have the scale […]


On the Politics of Museums

Parthenon Sculptures 1

The more time we spend in museums around the world, the more I come to realise how very, very political they are. Take the National Museum of China. When it closed for refurbishment a couple of years ago, exhibits were arranged according to the Marxist theory of history: Primitive Communism, Slave Society, Feudalism, Capitalism, etc. […]


Travel Planning 2012 — Or, Getting My Sh*t Together, Sort Of

Travel Planning Image

I had high hopes for our sojourn in Blighty. By approximately, umm, now, Z and I would have completed a whirlwind tour of the UK, caught up with scores of friends and relatives, and done all the tourist stuff you’re supposed to do in London that you never actually do when you’re actually living there. […]