A Place of Refuge

When we first returned to Maentwrog in March it felt like a place of refuge. Not just from Covid 19, but as a quiet and beautiful haven from sadness after the recent death of my mum. Since then Wales has been in lockdown and restrictions remain tight, in comparison to its more flighty neighbour. Nearly everything is closed. Yet life … Read More

May Day in Maentwrog

After seven weeks here, except for the saddest day trip to Staffordshire, my routine is so set, that I sometimes get it muddled up. I put my door keys in the coffee pot and my lipstick in the bread bin. I fill my hot water bottle just as I am due to go for my morning walk. Mostly though I … Read More

The Strangest Spring

Three Weeks and Counting The sun has shone every day for so long that I can’t remember when it rained. I have rarely known such wonderful weather here in North Wales. Today is a glorious bonanza of blues and greens, yellows and pinks. There are clusters of wild violets and primroses, blazing red rhododendrons, early bluebells and creamy blossom, fluffy … Read More

Can’t Stop Las Fallas

Joan Ribo, the Mayor of Valencia, just announced that Las Fallas would be held this year, Coronavirus or not. In many other places this could be seen as a risky decision. There’s only been a few confirmed cases in the province, but it’s easy to imagine the virus spreading like wildfire during the city’s mammoth and most important festival. Packed … Read More

A Winter Trundle in the Canary Isles

I wasn’t sure about Trundling around the Canaries. I had visions of marauding Brits, celebrating Brexit with litres of lager and mountains of chips in crowded resorts. In fact I rarely heard English spoken, just a gentle sing-song Spanish. No lager, but lots of fresh papaya juice and instead of chips, little dishes of Papas Arrugadas – locally grown potatoes, … Read More

A Trundler’s Tale from New Zealand

Brian and Elizabeth from New Zealand make significant trips in Europe by bike, to connect with their past and keep the environmental impact low Over the past 40 years we have been very fortunate in being able to travel widely, both for pleasure and on business to Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands (twice yearly sales trips to the Fiji … Read More

El Cabanyal Celebrates the Day of the Kings

On the 5th January, The Three Kings arrive at Valencia’s Marina by speedboat and are then whisked to the city centre in a flashy car. They drive through the streets throwing sweets into the crowds and this joyous ritual is possibly more important than Christmas for the people of Spain. The 6th January is the final day of the Christmas … Read More

Play at Heath Street

Art for All in Hampstead The Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead is an admirable example of how a church can enrich a community. With free classical concerts, Jacket potato ceilidh nights and and delightful singing and music sessions for children, it has an appeal which stretches far and wide. Hampstead feels more homely here, bohemian yet friendly. For the … Read More

Reasons to be Cheerful in 2020

It’s been a strange year during which I have often felt sad or angry about Britain’s departure from the European Union and all the changes which that will bring. However, now the map of England is so clearly blue, it’s time to concentrate on some of the things that make me happy about my own life. 1. I spend a … Read More