It is quite a few years since I walked with a backpack and one reason for this holiday is to find out if I am still up to it. Continue reading Are These Boots Made For Walking?
My idea of the Danube was almost entirely formed by reading Greenmantle, by John Buchan, in which Richard Hannay smuggles himself onto a chain of barges carry arms down the Danube from Germany bound for Turkey. Continue reading Ruins on the River
I did not expect to find many similarities between Norway and Slovakia, where I am today. I am wrong. They have similar populations, a bit more than 5 million. They both dissolved amicably a union with another country; Norway from Sweden in 1905 and Slovakia from the Czech Republic in 1993, the Velvet Divorce. They both have a unicameral multiparty democracy. They both had wartime governments that were subservient to Germany. Quisling entered the English language and Jozef Tiso did not but both were executed. Continue reading The Irish Madonna of Hungary
My grandfather’s Uncle G used to say when he went to Mass in June, “good, we’re in the Trinities, hunting starts in the Trinities”. The 13th Sunday after Trinity approaches and we can now legitimately look forward to the start of the season. Continue reading Hunting
Hugh Trevor-Roper describes himself as a passionate potamolator* in a 1944 entry in The Wartime Journals. I am gratified to discover that, in a small way, I am one too.
Last week, on 20th August, St. Stephen’s Day was celebrated in Hungary. I challenge you to name who wrote this, between the wars, about the St. Stephen’s Day procession of The Holy Right Hand in Budapest. “…the swaying canopy above the sacred relics borne by the Cardinal Prince Archbishop, glorious in crimson and ermine….bishops, monsignori and censer-swinging acolytes…all the rank and nobility of Hungary, some traditionally booted and be-furred with velvet dolmans slung across silk-embrodered tunics…all ablaze with the forgotten orders of a vanished chivalry.” Continue reading Holy Right Hand
It was Gordon Brown, I think, who said that the time to fix the roof is when the sun’s shining. What a load of cobblers politicians, who have usually never done a day’s work in their lives, talk. Continue reading The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore
Here is a letter from the Weekend FT that needs amplification. Continue reading Boys in (Pale) Blue
This may seem rather unseasonal – if you recognise it. Continue reading Stephen’s Day
In 1992 this picture won the BP Portrait Award, an annual prize that is still given at the National Portrait Gallery. It is by Lucy Willis who, at the time, was teaching Art to prisoners in Shepton Mallet jail and it depicts one of her classes. She looks through the other end of the telescope from the Koestler Trust artists, as it were. Continue reading From Art – Zanzibar