After being locked down in our cities, or ever-more crowded countryside, the timing of these isolation-paradise movies is impeccable. But what hooks us into these escapist dreams, these illusions, is no different today than it was in the 19th century. Like pilgrimage itself, it taps into an eternal impulse within us all.
Lamb’s 2020 book ‘Our Bodies Their Battlefield’ is grim but compelling. Ultimately, I had to put it down, lacking the courage to continue reading. Afterwards, nursing my own cowardice, I thought of Lamb. The woman who had the strength to face the detailed accounts of violence sustained by women in the course of conflict.
For much of the last four decades I have lived within walking distance of the Thames in London. This weekend I ventured out to explore a stretch of the river’s meandering upper reaches. Setting out from Lechlade in the very early morning mist only larks and reed warblers broke the silence.
This week I spent a glorious hour in conversation with Karwan Jamal Tahir on the topic of female Peshmerga soldiers - research for my book - 'Women Warriors'
Stanford is a Catholic and the content of his book is heavily weighted towards Christian routes and shrines such as Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes, and Rome. Nevertheless, he treads a balanced and respectful line across the wider religious terrain.
While the media may be wrapped up in immediate concerns of contagion, we can only assume that the millions flocking to the Kumbh Mela are taking the long view.
During his lifetime Philip Mountbatten was known variously as Prince, Duke, Consort. Some of his titles were honorary others, were earned. In this latter category we might include Influencer – a person who through his trusted position was able to amplify ideas and inspire others to act.
Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road..
Surely this is the richest fortune of all - not only to live a good life, but to recognise it as such.
Experiencing that unique synaptic prickle that comes from fresh conversation and a new perspective on the world, my encounter with award winning podcaster Jeremy Bassetti made me nostalgic for that special quality of life in the city currently lost to lockdown. Not least the serendipity of the chance meeting.