Travel

Chiara Vigo, Bisso

Chiara Vigo, Maestro di Bisso

7th March 2015
Posted in

A recent story about tiny sea snail teeth that were stronger than titanium reminded me of the time I met a Sardinian woman who harvested ‘bisso’, strong silk-like fibres secreted by a marine bivalve mollusc, known as pinna nobilis or ‘fan mussel’. Chiara Vigo is an interesting woman; a descendant of 30 generations of bisso-weavers,…

Read More
Pebblebed Vineyards, Devon

Delights of Devon

3rd March 2015
Posted in ,

I was invited by Visit Devon to discover its food and drink delights, which included first-class wine and champagne, the freshest fish, and all manner of blueberry products. You can read about it in my article for Foodtripper.  Some of the places visited: Yelverton’s Wildflower restaurant in the Moorland Garden Hotel Commodore in Instow Le…

Read More
Tunisian mother & girls copy

Tunisia

8th February 2015
Posted in

Tataouine, in southern Tunisia, is famous for the trogolodyte buildings of the native Berber* population. It’s so other-worldly, that director George Lucas used it as a backdrop for one of his Star Wars films. The buildings are actually ancient grain stores, or ksour, and you can read more in my Time Out article here.

Read More
Venice

Venice

8th February 2015
Posted in

Venice was once a water-logged destination for those escaping the plague on mainland Italy. It became one of the most powerful Italian republics, a great maritime power, and centre for the world’s finest art and music. Today the city seems to be drowning under the weight of its success. Each year it’s invaded by tourists…

Read More

Devon

8th February 2015
Posted in

On my latest visit to Devon I discovered a vibrant craft scene that includes ceramics, blacksmithing, and glass-blowing, along with an incredible range of food and drinks. Read about Devon’s quality wine, beer and gin, organic edible flowers, jams, fresh fish and chilli, in my article for Discovering Devonshire Delights for Foodtripper.   Some of…

Read More

Morocco

8th February 2015
Posted in

Casablanca  Or Dar El Beida in Arabic, means  ‘white house’ – a reference to the low-rise white-painted buildings that cover the landscape. But it’s a much-changed landscape today. The biggest city in Morocco is the busiest port in North Africa, a techno city decorated with hoardings advertising Samsung, Galaxy, Zara and Uniqlo… Markets in Morocco…

Read More
Duomo Milan

Milan

8th February 2015
Posted in

Milan’s EXPO Set to be the biggest ever, the theme is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. With 140 participating countries, it will be the biggest event on nutrition in the world. Here are some facts: 1 million square metres: the site will be equivalent in size to the 8th largest city in Italy 250,000:…

Read More
soane-collections-model-room-research

Sir John Soane Museum

24th August 2014
Posted in

A neo-classical architect married an heiress, bought a house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, then another, and another. He knocked them all through and filled every inch of space with his extensive collection of architectural fragments, sculptures and paintings. He lost three of his sons, fell out with the last one, and left the lot to…

Read More
East London Federation of Suffragettes

What about the anti-war effort?

8th August 2014
Posted in

East London Federation of Suffragettes Didn’t know that it’s 100 years since the start of the First World War? Unlikely. You can’t move for TV and radio programmes dedicated to it, local talks, ceremonies, commemorations, exhibitions… No, this centenary is something that we are all very much aware of. But what of the anti-war movement?…

Read More
The carnival masks of Venice

Carnival time

17th February 2014
Posted in

Much of Italy is celebrating carnival over the next few weeks. Here are details of the most popular: CARNIVAL OF VENICE Venice: 15 Feb – 4 Mar 2014 www.carnevale.venezia.it During the world’s most famous masked “open city “ party, every corner of Venice flourishes with chances to have fun and becomes a multicoloured series of…

Read More