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    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 -  ...

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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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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   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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Waiting to alight any aircraft is a boring rigmarole of the utmost process, checking and rechecking in a random way that gives little confidence - though of course, we do feel reassured momentarily: and so we obey righteously to escape embarrassment as we shuffle past the x rays and we avert the eyes from the suited officials so as to avoid any question of being pulled aside.  Most recently at Nairobi one has to virtually undress but there was no worry to have to place the unfinished toothpaste or my yellow ochre tube oozing in see-through bags and not a thought about my stout shoes. ...

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  A few days in France cannot escape the traditional lunch stop - and away from the main roads and city centres the plat du jour being second of four or even five courses with white paper tablecloths and a pichet of wine is still very common. The locations are not always salubrious or pretty and non less than coming across a high French purpose built ski resort in the rain. In October void of summer bloom and well before the snows les acrs 1600 looks more like the film set for a post nuclear sci-fi: but as we pressed down the steel ...

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Sitting and supping at the Fountain Inn in the lee of Wells Cathedral one can easily gain the impression of being in the presence of somewhere spiritual and great. The scale and majesty of the building and the approaches through arches and greens in the half light was only to be matched by what we found inside.  The acoustics of the utterly magical singing from Tenebrae who without organs or instruments filled the huge space with sounds that were so precise and pure it must have given heart to the massive fabric of this wonderful church that such music can be repeated today in a ...

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