This page allows you to find different blog postings and photo albums grouped by topic; just click on an entry.



2016    Malta

2015    To Inchydoney, Ireland, again.

2015    Bathing in Bath.

2015    More bathing in Hungary.

2015    Stay in Bath (Tony Birks-Hay’s final show)

2014     Swimming in the Red Sea in December.

2014    A lovely museum in Antalya, Turkey.

2013    The Salamis Bay Conti Hotel in North Cyprus.

2013    The Wren Library in Trinity College, Cambridge.

2013    Getting around in Turkey and here.

2013    Revisiting Venice.

2013    Visiting the mausoleum of Roumi, the Sufi mystic, in Konya.

2013    Bathing in Budapest.

2012    The Pain in Spain.

2012    Talking to Mrs Linley Sambourne.

2012    To St John’s College, Cambridge.

2012    To the Inchydoney isthmus, in west Cork.

2012    Photos of Inchydoney.

2012    In the French Alps.

2012    In the French Alps.   (Photos)

2011    Hot springs in Tunisia.

2011    Visiting the Greek island of Castellorizo while staying in Turkey.

2011    Staying with friends in a spa town south of Granada.   

2011   Hot springs in Baden Baden (so clean they named it twice).  

2010    Visiting my daughter in Valencia.

            Valencia: Spain’s secret city.

2010   Cemetery at Saignon, in Provence (photo album)

2009    Valencia (photo album)

2008    Cuba: 50s cars  (photo album)

2008    Cuba: slogans  (photo album)

2005    Turkey (photo album)

2000    When Jane visited me in the Botanical Gardens.

2000    An amazing place to live in Berlin.

1997    Central Europe: Vienna, Budapest & Prague

1995    Miracle Manor, Reposo Way, Desert Hot Springs, California.

1995    Miracle Manor (photo album)

1990    Paris: the Canal Saint Martin.

1990    Dublin; on the James Joyce trail. (photos)

1979   Visiting Greek islands with Jane

1966    Driving between Algeria and France

1965    Summer in Manhattan

1965    Manhattan (photo album)

1966    A posh wedding in Algeria.

1964    Travelling to Spain by Lambretta

1962   Guernsey 1962-5    (pt 3)

1962    Guernsey 1962-5    (pt 2)

1962    Guernsey 1962-5   (pt 1)

1951     Flying out to Iraq

1951     Life in Iraq


Keep off the grass!

Wren Library, Trinity College.

“On the Road”, a beat at Cambridge in the late 50s.

Pots, rain and tennis.

Gillray’s The Rake’s Progress at the University.

Gillray’s The Rake’s Progress at the University. (photos)

Cambridge photos (mainly St John’s College)

“If yer scuff yer feet ye’ll get beasties!”

THE ARTS  (books, theatre, ballet, film, music etc)

books and poetry

Pepys walking by the Thames

Samuel Pepys The Diaries.

Visiting the Pepys library in Cambridge.

Young winner of the 2017 Betjeman poetry prize, ‘Lament for Syria’

The Other Side of You  by Sally Vickers.

Elizabeth Jane Howard

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

On the Road  by Jack Kerouac

Robert Irwin’s Memoirs of a Dervish.

Poems inspired by Titian’s ‘Metamorphoses’ paintings.

Musée des Beaux Arts, Auden’s poem about Breughel’s Fall of Icarus.

Thomas Cromwell in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (1)

Thomas Cromwell in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (2)

James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Worldly Goods: Lisa Jardine’s ‘New History of the Renaissance’.

Maigret likes a drink (or two).

How to get free classic books (on your Kindle).

More about Kindle.

Jane Austen, a modernist?

Beryl Bainbridge 1934-2010.

A Time of Gifts, by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Homer’s Odyssey.

A Mouthful of Air: Anthony Burgess on language and languages.

My Name is Red,  a novel by the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk.

The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund De Waal’s family memoir.

Travels through France and Italy by Tobias Smollet.

Baedeker’s Italy: from the Alps to Naples. 1909 edition.


When the audience become performers.

When the audience become performers (2)

Mark Rylance as Richard III at the Globe.

Having tea with Harold Pinter.

UFA-revue, Theater des Westens, Berlin.


Cardiff Singer of the World 2015

The Rhine Festival of Song

An extraordinary production of a Mozart opera in Berlin.

A brilliant young cellist becomes the BBC Musician of the Year.

Chinese Opera in Algeria during the Cultural Revolution.

My Desert Island Discs.

Jazz in Manhattan in 1965.

The Magic of Mozart.

The Danube Festival of Song.

J.S.Bach’s St Matthew Passion, directed by Jonathan Miller.


The Winter’s Tale.  The Royal Ballet at the cinema.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden.


The Theory of Everything. Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking.

The Winter’s Tale.  The Royal Ballet at the cinema.

Sullivan’s Travels by Preston Sturges.

Watching films for free just after the war.

Problems of finding unusual films in multiplexes.

Locations for Vertigo, just voted greatest film of all time.

Georges Méliès, the great French director of the silent era.

Hotel du Nord by Marcel Carné.

Francois Truffaut, the Antoine Doinel films.

Why do people think The Artist is a great film?


Giovanni Battista Moroni.

Berthe Morisot (1)

Berthe Morisot (2)

Our friend Tony-Birks Hay, painter and sculptor, 1937-2014

Tony’s paintings: a final exhibition in Bath.

Vittore Carpaccio in Venice.

Paintings by Mick Dunn.

Metamorphosis, the Titian exhibition at the National Gallery.

The paintings of Vittore Carpaccio in Venice.

Photos of the three ‘Diana’ Titians.

Four versions of Boy Building a House of Cards by Chardin

Photos of the Chardin paintings.

‘Worldly goods’ as seen in paintings of the Renaissance.

The Little Oyster Eater by Jan Steen, the Mauritshuis, The Hague.

Children in interiors by Pieter de Hooch and his contemporaries.

The Rake’s Progress at the University (1806) by James Gillray

Musée des Beaux Arts, Auden’s poem about Breughel’s Fall of Icarus.

decorative arts

Jewellery from Kabylia, in eastern Algeria.

Blue Delft tiles.


Elspeth Owen’s pinch pots.

Jane’s sculptures of women in dance and yoga poses.


Language learning: the school years. (French, German & Spanish).

Language learning: the adult years. (From Dutch to Mondegreens).

Learning Arabic.

Learning Turkish.

Trying to learn some Maltese.

Children learning to speak (1) : my daughters and granddaughter.

Children learning to speak (2) :  Amelie’s use of French.

Children learning to speak (3) : imagination & co-operation

Children learning to speak (4) : ‘Hey Grandpa, give me a high five!’

A Mouthful of Air: Anthony Burgess on language and languages.

Hurdy gurdy, head over heels and hip hop. Doublets in English.

Turkish doublets.

Softly softly. More about doubling up.

All Greek (or possibly Turkish) to me.

Smatterings (1). Why speaking a language too fluently can be a problem.

Smatterings (2). Report on a conference about “Why Languages Matter”.

A poem to exemplify rules of word stress in English.

Polyglots.  People speaking many languages.


Amelie spend the weekend with us at the cottage (2014).

Watching Wimbledon with my grand-daughter (2013).

Jane becomes a tennis champion!

Celine doing yoga while heavily pregnant.

A shipboard romance. How my parents met in 1936, I think.

More about A shipboard romance.

Photos of my parents from 1936.

Yes, my parents did get married in Alexandria in December 1936.

The Cruel Sea. My father’s war: Crossing the Atlantic 1941-3.

In southern Iraq; spring of 1951 (part 1).

In southern Iraq: spring of 1951 (part 2).

A barman in Cannes in 1962 (the summer Celine was born).

Photos from Tlemcen, Algeria (1965-7).

Photos from New York City in 1965.

The Odds and Sods Club: a school reunion after 50+ years.

Jane and I; photos of our wedding day in 1983.

Me Jane: a 1950s childhood. chapter one (aged 4).  Revised.

Me Jane, chapter 9.  Jane aged 8-9. (First version)

Photos of Jane’s early years.

Our friends in Paris.

Our friends, from Algeria  in 1968 to Spain in 2011.

Sports, sights & spooks in Valencia, 2010.

Valencia people: photos of Celine, Lucas, Carlos et al.

Lucas at our cottage, 2011.

My Uncle Roland 1920-2016

My Aunt Nora 1932-2018

Memories of and tributes to my cousin Justin Rees.

Photos of Justin.

Photos of Amelie (aged nearly 1 & nearly 3) with fond grandfather.

Peter Ridley Batt (1919-2011).  Jane’s favourite uncle.

A widowed friend’s happy remarriage (tho’ not to Humphrey Bogart).


1944    Learning to write, on a slate and afterwards.

1945 -   School reunion evokes memories from primary school onwards.

1948-9  First of two worst winters in my lifetime.

1949 -   First visits to France and Germany.

1950s    Playing at soldiers and sailors.

1950s    Soho in the 50s

1953 -    Saturday jobs.

1957-    Lavatories and dress code at St John’s College, Cambridge.

1957    Working with West Indians.

1957    The Beat days.

1958-    A discotheque near the Place Saint Michel.

1958    ‘If you scuff yer feet ye’ll get beasties!’. Pretending to be soldiers.

1950s    ‘Bless me Father for I have sinned’

1961    Walking by the Thames.

1962-    Learning guitar in Guernsey

1962-   Teaching in Guernsey

1962-   My first marriage, and moving to Guernsey

  1. 1962.   Working as a barman in Cannes, the year my daughter Celine was born.

1962.    A chance encounter with Arab food in London.

  1. 1966.   Collecting Berber jewellery in Algeria.

1966.    A splendid wedding in Tlemcen, Algeria.

  1. 1967.   The only imperialist in the village. Algeria during the 6-Day War.

1968    A Berber wedding in a village in Kabylia.

1969    Good Cop, Bad Cop in Algiers.

1979.    Miami Beach before it was tarted up.

1981.    The day I discovered sushi (and Charles & Diana were married).

1980s.   Serving on a jury.

  1. 1992.   Trying to get a light lunch in Berlin.



Why are publishers so timid?  Problems of getting past the marketing guys.

Rhymes and Rhythm. 2010 revised update of my English Language book.

Don’t Ration my Passion. Songs of WW2.

“Who’s Who”, a word stress poem from Rhymes and Rhythm.

“Silly Similes”, a nonsense poem from Rhymes and Rhythm.


Women in Wartime by Jane and me.

The Egyptian Princess (2014).  Paperback and e-book.

Under Buckingham Palace (2013).  Paperback and e-book

Below the Green Pond (1982):  reviews in TES and TLS.

Below the Green Pond (1982):  illustrations for possible new edition.

A Stitch in Time: Volume 2 (2011) 

A Stitch in Time: Volume 2 (2011)  (photos of knitwear from the 30s to the 50s)

The Female Form.  Photos of Jane’s Statues and Sexpots. 

Bucks Open Studios 2011. Jane’s work and that of her fellow artists.

Yoga and Dance. Female figures in semi-porcelain with a porcelain glaze.

Female Forms: mainly life drawings.

Bucks Open Studios 2010. Jane’s work and that of her fellow artists.

Population Explosion.  Ceramic forms.

Dancers in Motion. (Drawings of Royal Ballet dress rehearsals)

Me Jane: a 1950s childhood. Chapter one.


(For more about Jane and her work, go to )


My former neighbour, Gordon Brown.

Hello, I’m from Germany. (Angela Merkel greets a local peasant).

Visiting the neighbours. (David & Samantha)


Public transport problems.

Muntjac road-kill.

Woodland plants in springtime.  Photos

Foxie Foxie comes to our garden.

Yoga in our life.

The young vixen who visits us.

Cottage photos, all year round.

Cottage fauna: photos of animals from the desirable to the unbearable.

Tree felling ballet.

Snow at Christmas (December 2010).

Theatre in the villages.

Help I’m disfranchised!

Problems in the countryside.

One pub saved, one pub closed.

We’ve actually bought or local pub! (2012)

West Wycombe: childhood and onwards.

Photographs of us visiting West Wycombe.


Watching the Murray brothers in Valencia in November 2010

Seeing McEnroe in his prime in the 1980; and Wimbledon rained off for most of ladies’ quarter finals day in  2011

Jane wins Kennedy Cup mixed doubles with 17yr old lad as partner.

Photo of Jane holding cup and almost fainting with surprise.

Watching much of 2012 Murray-Federer Wimbledon final at my old college.

Watching the famous 2013 Wimbledon final with 4-year-old Amelie.

Playing tennis in northern Cyprus in February 2014.

My two heroines from the 2015 French Open.

The magic of Murray at Queens, 2015 (plus Dustin Brown at Wimbledon).