Blogs of the week

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I’ve liked Claire’s main blog, The Captive Reader, which she writes from home in Vancouver, for some years, not least because she reads a lot of travel books. Also, who could resist a weekly post with the title Library Lust, featuring the most enviable shelves and chair corners.

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But now there’s another blog, The Ambling Adventurer, and I seriously feel like Claire is writing for me. First there was a post on hidden gardens in Prague (where I recently saw the beauties of spring), then a post on expat memoirs that featured the book is just been reading and crying over, My Berlin Kitchen, and finally a post on Siena that immediately brought up memories of a trip with my mother to Florence. Heaven!

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Photos of Ethiopia, Prague and Split by me. 2014-2017.

Amy in the Pyramids

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Beautiful photos from Amy Merrick’s Instagram feed, that remind me both of Mrs Smiling in Cold Comfort Farm, whom when abroad would wear lots of white dresses and all the young men in the hotels would fall in love with her, and my friend Sophia telling me that Cairo was a cheap and easy-to-reach place for a romantic weekend.

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Beekeepers and Dostoevsky

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A party of six settled at the next table, all countrymen in homespun, rawhide footgear and sashes, but two in broad-brimmed hats of plaited osier, the others in cloth caps…untroubled smiles and good-humoured wrinkles round their eyes and the corners of their mouths. Anyone would have felt calm and happy in their neighbourhood. Appropriately, as I divined…they were itinerant beekeepers travelling up and down the region and tidying up the hives for the winter.

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One of many gentle passages in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s conclusion to his trilogy of his walk from Holland to Turkey in the mid-1930s, The Broken Road. I also liked his description of reading in bed in a loft above a wheelwright’s shop on a rainy day (“Dostoevsky ever since, and even the mention of his name, evokes a momentary impression of rain and fresh-sawed wood.”), or meeting the hotel-maid Rosa, who treated him to a nannyish scolding for wet shirts and lost belongings, and whom he treated in return by taking her to a showing of The Blue Angel, which evokes memories of her time in Vienna as lady’s maid to a grand hostess.

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Saturated

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In amongst the Gothic architecture, vaulted ceilings and high windows in St Vitus’ Cathedral, Prague, is a saturation of colour from mosaics, wall-paintings and art nouveau glass.

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Colour stains the stone walls, rains down on the visiting tourists.

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April 2017.