The Cardboard Age

In the late afternoon I walk on the heath. A stonechat perched on a plinth of gorse while a hobby circles overhead, patient, unrelenting, waiting for a chance to pounce. A silver birch tree buzzes with a flurry of finches, continuously moving and impossible to glimpse for more than a second. At the end of … Continue reading The Cardboard Age

Lockdown Loopholes

Where shall we go this weekend? Where shall we go this summer? Until recently the answer depended on how itchy your feet, how expansive your wallet, how much time you could take away from work, school or family. It has been something of a shock to lose the liberty we once took so much for … Continue reading Lockdown Loopholes

Tuesday’s Toledo Travelogue

On Tuesday I travelled to Toledo, that city which lies at the heart of La Mancha, Spain. Home to Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, and Judah Halevi, the medieval scholar. Both accompanied me and my friend George on our way through the city on this week’s virtual pilgrimage. Through these characters, George illuminated the current … Continue reading Tuesday’s Toledo Travelogue

What Next?

In almost every dimension of human society, whether in love or war, politics or the weather, improving our understanding of what the future has in store confers an advantage, and since the very earliest times we have been trying to peer over the horizon by one means or another to get a glimpse of tomorrow … Continue reading What Next?

The Road Not Taken

The millions of pairs of feet that in normal times would already be striding out for Rome or Mecca, Benares or Mashhad are stilled today while so many patient pilgrims are waiting for the tide to turn on the pandemic. But the imagination is a fine thing and this morning I ventured virtually along the … Continue reading The Road Not Taken

The Long View

Virtually walking from the Iron Age hill fort, Barbury Castle to the Bronze Age circle at Avebury via Google Maps and Zoom with my friend Richard earlier today, we happened across the topic of the long-view. He told me how, on the Coast to Coast Path, at the end of the first day of walking … Continue reading The Long View

Listless by Moonlight

Tea bags, 9volt batteries, baking potatoes, printer ink, headset and mic, new notebook.....Working from home and making a list over lunch of what we need to carry on with our daily lives under lockdown reminded me of the explorer Richard Francis Burton and the list of items he acquired in Alexandria for the onward journey. … Continue reading Listless by Moonlight

Home and Away

At a time when we are all confined to our homes, the question arises of what gives a place, home or abroad, its ‘draw’? This was the topic of conversation between Mary and I as we set out on our virtual walk from Walberswick to Blythburgh. We were linked via facetime and shared Google maps … Continue reading Home and Away

Crime and Punishment

As the Easter festival approaches, I’m reminded of a journey taken one April weekend more than two decades ago, from Moscow to St Petersburg, that city first introduced to many of us through Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. It was a glorious if somewhat monotonous train ride, with snow laden pine and aspen forests slipping past … Continue reading Crime and Punishment

Lockdown Lane

Over the coming weeks it is my intention to make a number of virtual pilgrimages with friends along routes they know well and, with the help of technology, to share in their experience of the route and the destination. Past experience of virtual pilgrimage is that it can be as joyous as the real thing … Continue reading Lockdown Lane