Category Archives for England

08Dec2013

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 […]

03Dec2013

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 […]

30Nov2013

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 […]

26Nov2013

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 […]

28Feb2012

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, […]

22Feb2012

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 […]

17Feb2012

The Friday Photo: Tower Bridge

Tower-Bridge1

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 […]

16Feb2012

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. […]

17Jan2012

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. […]

14Jan2012

A Beach. England. January. Are We Mad?

Salt Marshes

There is something extremely English about a trip to the beach in winter. Our beaches, like our weather, our teeth and vast swathes of our national cuisine, are an international laughing stock. Which is not, entirely, fair. This January morning, we walked from Holkham Beach on the Norfolk coast to Wells, a couple of miles […]