Category: travel

thing 35: ‘the centre/Where we dance, where we play’: a trip to the arcade

Of late my memory has become a sort of penny falls: I put one new thought in and several others get pushed out to make room. Unfortunately the displaced items don’t fall usefully into that collect-your-swag slot where you can reach down and reclaim them; they slide instead down that chute-to-oblivion at the side where those promising, teetering piles of coppers used to end up. That thing I had to remember… What thing? Did I have to remember something? (more…)

thing 32: ‘how pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!’: Mary King’s Close

Framily. Prinks. Twixtmas. Hmmm. Every so often I hear a new word which makes me cringe but which I have to admit does usefully convey meaning.

Okay, prinking (= pre-drinking = priming with cheap[er] at-home alcohol in order to achieve required degree of intoxication while out, without having to take out a loan) isn’t often a thing I need to talk about, but the point still stands. So I find myself telling you that during Twixtmas this year (more…)

thing 29: ‘one person, and they’re talking to you’: a radio interview

A few years ago I was interviewed in a sort of rent-a-therapist slot on Radio Cumbria; they wanted someone in the biz to say something vaguely intelligent for a “dealing with difficult events” programme. Getting the phone call from some BBC gofer I’d thought it was a wind-up, but there I was, about an hour later, sitting in my study being invited to pronounce on a variety of things down the telephone—and live on air. Surreal. ‘Ah yes, (more…)

thing 28: ‘into the new place out of the blue’: a tale of two bridges

Unknown territory, of which I could definitely say there be dragons. I was going to Wales.

On my only previous visit I’d toiled up Snowdon in a whiteout (cloud, not snow), been put out to discover that some entirely able-bodied people had taken the train up (I mean, really) and then, that evening, shared with Susie a quantity of intoxicants sufficient to leave us spending what felt like hours in front of the telly, watching in a state of rapture the finest programme ever produced. When the credits rolled I don’t know if we were more disturbed to (more…)

thing 17: a long weekend, part (ii): ‘out over our own fathoms’: Charney Manor

‘Think it possible that you may be mistaken’. This is the final sentence of number 17 of the Quaker Advices and queries (a key text in Quakerism). Is there anyone, anywhere, any time (pass the Martini!) who couldn’t benefit from sitting with that idea for a while?

Here I was, arriving from Oxford at Didcot Parkway on the way to a Quaker Enquirers’ course at the splendidly-named Charney Manor. I was emotionally exhausted after the morning’s encounter with lost youth, and physically exhausted after having a run (flatter than Kendal, but muddier also), wandering round town for miles, and lugging a large backpack whose hipbelt, I discovered too late, was no longer operational. And friends, there’s a lot of train stuff at Didcot Parkway. I mean, a LOT. What with that, and (more…)