philip-kerr-logo-final

Local reports from Udaipur this week confirm that, thanks to the quick-thinking magnanimity by the ruler at the Delwara Fort Palace, a clash of some ugly proportions did not come to pass. Early last Friday a band of insurrectionaries emerged from the Aravalli Hills to the walls of the fort, setting up camp in the heat and dust of the orchards. By Saturday night fuelled by french champagne and enlisting military drummers the rabble took a short 45 minutes to get to the gates. Cleverly, they had employed tailors and couture from the region, hairdressers and make up people to disguise their ...

read post »

    WE made it to the Uttarakhand region Himalayan hills on the north-eastern reaches of India in the nick bordered by Nepal and Tibet. At about 150 km south of the highest peak in India, the 21,000 feet of Nanda Devi, loomed on the horizon in the gin clear air as though it was a short walk away from our mere 7000 feet hillocks.   Steep and intriguing hills rolling into the distance alive with activity. With eagles souring and woodpeckers sounding, the local doves and great barbetts make the most sound in the short twilight when the temperature changes markedly -  ...

read post »

In a landscape where serried ranks of vines line the hillsides it doesn't take much to move off the beaten track and just along the unfenced yards to a point where the hedges laden with fruit drop away on the southern slope. And here is a special place to be found. But all the more joyous when the chatter of  manual harvesters are not replaced by machinery. For we are on a private estate in Italy where care is paramount. And on they go and all is quiet again. And this reminds me of a similar exercise, now an annual event, ...

read post »

A paint with friends in the Tuscan Hills on one of those bright very warming autumn days brings an interesting dimension to the same view. Sitting in a vineyard in the shade of the olive trees along the drive to the ancient building in which we were all holed up for a few days, we concentrated on tone and shapes and  nine of us produced some marvelously different results but all saying the same thing. With discipline of just three colours per painter, quiet distant chatter from the grape-pickers, and an errant puppy bouncing its uncontrollable paws into pallets and spilling the water pots, ...

read post »

An olive tree is a fine thing especially when you realise it may be many hundred years old and it survives on scant ground with extremes of weather on steep slopes of an island to which they were introduced and established against these considerable odds.  For us sweltering on a fine summers day on Paxos the mere 40 degrees and high humidity meant all we could do was to rush for the shade and hope for a breeze. The olive tree nearly always our sanctuary. And as we meandered the inland parts those lovely ranks of dark twisting trunks with a ...

read post »

Only an artist impression can begin to portray the horror of a crazy tourist entering a hitherto unexplored cave on the west cost of Paxos earlier this month. Expectations by a vulnerable group of seeing ‘marvellous rock formations and unseen animals of the deep ocean’ were soon dashed as a female voice was heard yelping “I am leaving. .. I have to get off….” . But of course there was no-where to go and undeterred the captain pressed on and the expedition continued in somewhat silence: with the party disappearing through a narrow creek into the vast cliff of limestone.  At breakfast that ...

read post »

It was wet but none the less for it - perhaps deterring some but not those hardened with the knowledge that the running order is plentiful, high quality and often unexpected.  [caption id="attachment_1795" align="alignnone" width="434"] Tents and campers set in a bowl of English countryside[/caption] we could not have had a better present from our children to camp alongside the expensive wigwams and the ordinary nylon for  weekend in Devon with music, food, literature and wellbeing all on the agenda  the best location is often the church where new and up and coming mainly accoustic sounds rebound the stone and panelling to produce remarkable sounds  and ...

read post »

   My father as a WWII soldier always used the expression "remember belgium!" not by way of direct reference to the 1915 campaign to recruit into the allied forces - see poster - which in itself was a reference to the tremendous atrocities in that country  in 1914: but to emphasise that when lobbing artillery fire towards a german force from allied lines in the spring of 1946 might go a little too far and so to speak over their heads and of course land in Belgium.... and in so doing, bring back those endurances the dear folk suffered in WWI. And of course they ...

read post »

For we have been here a thousand years and we see the change about us as a passing moment in our lives. We sense the draft as you, little yellow caterpillar, bruise the soils and murder our weaker jungle friends in the name of your game to inhabit our realm. Our god gives us sun and rain and wind to prune our souls, and against which we preen our bodies, branch out and strengthen ready for another eon. And we survive. You, little yellow machine, will wear yourself out and be gone to rust and disintegrate back to the particles from which ...

read post »

On close inspection my knees were unusually nut coloured for the time of year. Far from the minus-white mottled palour with those odd purple oblations ascending those knobbliest of joints in winter - just a bonnie brown.  And why was not difficult to work out, as Africa carries a blissful climate in which we were immersed for a few days. And strangely ones knees being situated between the bluff of the shorts and the top of the socked leg swishing through the grasses bears most exposure to the elements. More than the hatted head which in turn shades the beak ...

read post »