Beautiful but exhausted – the little lodge on the lake in Bacoli, by Naples, Italy

We visited this little lodge last August, towards the end of our two years near Naples, Italy. It was evening when we arrived. The heat had gone, the light bounced off the lake, and wedding parties posed on the bridge.

The Phraser

La Casina Vanvitelliana in Lago Fusaro, Campania, Italy La Casina Vanvitelliana in Lago Fusaro, Campania, Italy

If I had the money to save a building of all those that I have seen this is the one that I would save.

We saw it for the first time this summer – small, elegant, corroded and propped up; its perfect proportions reflected in the blue green lake as the sun went down.

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Sidmouth FolkWeek – sun, rain, sea and song

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Sidmouth, Devon, England

Happiness … a folk festival set in a patchwork bowl beside the sea.

Early August means FolkWeek when Sidmouth, in Devon, ties bells below her knees, plumps her seafront with craft stalls, and flies a few tunes up her hillsides.

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A thought on Liverpool as it catches Unesco’s eye

The docks in Liverpool, England

The docks in Liverpool, England

My first real visit to Liverpool was on foot this summer.  I didn’t walk all the way but I did do five miles through the outskirts to the cathedral as part of a fundraising walk on a hot, sunny Sunday.

It was only afterwards that I learned about the tension – that the city’s world heritage status was on the gangplank, and that Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was about to decide whether or not to give Liverpool the final shove.

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Book review: Wild is Life – Reaching out (by Sally Carney)

Wild is Life by Sally Carney

Front cover of Wild is Life by Sally Carney

Wild is Life – Reaching Out is about an animal sanctuary that has grown out of the turmoil that swept through Zimbabwe a few years before the millennium.

It is an inspiring, intimate photographic record of a home-made haven that started small – mongoose size – and then stretched. By the end of the book it is giraffe high … and the elephants have come.

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ZANE (Zimbabwe a National Emergency): walking for the forgotten in Zimbabwe

Tom Benyon OBE, founder of the charity ZANE, outside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool

Tom Benyon OBE, founder of the charity ZANE, outside the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool

It’s the final day of the 2017 ZANE fundraising walk. Already Tom and Jane Benyon have walked well over a hundred miles in just twelve days.

We find the couple in a pub – not slumped, but slightly crumpled… nine-miles-on-hot-pavement crumpled.

We are fresh from the car and springy. This does not last long.

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Tom Benyon OBE walks for Zimbabwe … it’s hot

June day at Stonehenge, England

This might give an idea of how hot it is – Stonehenge, England

Today one man and his wife start their walk to raise money for strangers many miles away.

It’s hot and it’s humid in England – the Istanbul side of warm – but that won’t stop them. As the rest of us flop in the shade they are off on their 142 mile walk. The route is from one side of the country to the other, and the aim is to raise money for those upturned by Zimbabwe’s waves of chaos.

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The UK: politics, impossibilities … and more Shakespeare

Trafalgar Square, London

Trafalgar Square, London

A week ago the United Kingdom was full of hope and politics. Now, after the general election result, the politics goes on but there’s one big question: how do we get out of this?

We knew there would be a muddle, but I don’t think we ever imagined it would be quite so complicated.

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