Category Archives: Journeys and destinations

The British abroad

Britain and Europe: an 18th century warning “Upon the whole, I think it is next to an impossibility for a young man of fortune to pass a year or two in Paris, the southern parts of France, Italy, &c. without … Continue reading

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Jefferson on French ladies

Thomas Jefferson on the difference in life styles between Frenchwomen and American ladies

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Looking backwards

Years ago it was still possible to make use of a direct train service between Oxford and Cambridge. A single-track two-carriage diesel unit ambled slowly from village to village or hamlet halt along the way, crossing the West Coast main … Continue reading

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Around here

We live in Hanslope, a village in Buckinghamshire.  This morning I asked a local craftsman if he was ‘around here.’ He said no – his family was from Castlethorpe, these past 350 years. So, not from here. Castlethorpe is all … Continue reading

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Rio De Janeiro, 1846

A lady traveller’s impressions of imperial Brazil include this vignette, courtesy of Project Gutenberg: “I was fortunate enough during my stay in Rio Janeiro to witness several different public festivals. The first was on the 21st of September, in the … Continue reading

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Sicily to America

Touring Sicily in the years before the First World War, the writer Henry Festing Jones reaches Custonaci, ponders the guestworker phenomenon and makes a prediction: ‘“You see all these young men?” said the shoemaker.  “In another couple of months they … Continue reading

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12 English country towns

A personal list of 20 of the most attractive small towns in England: Abingdon Alnwick Ashbourne Beverley Bishop’s Castle Burford Bury St Edmunds Chipping Campden Cirencester Marlborough Hawes Hay-on-Wye Kendal Lavenham Richmond (Yorks) Romsey Saffron Walden Stratford-on-Avon Wimborne Wells

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Village obligations

I’m still rejoicing, a month after moving our home to a village where we have always wanted to live.  Every day, it seems, discloses some interesting alley or tucked-away square, offers new social opportunities, brings a new friend.  People hail … Continue reading

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Ithaka, Buckinghamshire

Last week we moved home ten miles or so, to a community and place that we have wanted to live in ever since we first encountered it 27 years ago.  The place is Hanslope, now part of the metropolis of … Continue reading

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Poem for Luca

A poem for my grandson

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