The Sultan’s Elephant in London – a true story

This is about an elephant that came to the streets of London in search of a little girl. It happened in 2006 and I wrote about it in 2015. It’s a tale about wonder where you least expect it … and about the power of elephants.

The Phraser

The Sultan's Elephant in London ‘The Sultan’s Elephant’ by Royal de Luxe, produced in London in 2006 by Artichoke. Photo copyright Sophie Laslett.

It all began on one of those long weekends when no-one was looking.  To start with it was just an ordinary, empty day – too busy to see.

Then, suddenly, people started to hear things, they started to wonder … because … wasn’t that … did they really hear an elephant in London?

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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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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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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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The Sultan’s Elephant in London – a true story

The Sultan's Elephant in London

‘The Sultan’s Elephant’ by Royal de Luxe, produced in London in 2006 by Artichoke. Photo copyright Sophie Laslett.

It all began on one of those long weekends when no-one was looking.  To start with it was just an ordinary, empty day – too busy to see.

Then, suddenly, people started to hear things, they started to wonder … because … wasn’t that … did they really hear an elephant in London?

Continue reading