Claude Monet and his House at Giverny

The story goes that Monet in his search for a house to accommodate his growing family set out one day by train from Paris and spotted what was then the tiny hamlet of Giverny. Standing out amongst the cluster of properties along Giverny’s long main street he saw from his carriage a long but lowContinue reading “Claude Monet and his House at Giverny”

My Vinyl LP Record Collection – reviewing a life through Music

Today, as I listen to the Bruce Springsteen ‘River’ album, I am wondering what it is that shapes our love of music and particularly a genre that we seem to stay with for life. To be fair I did come to Springsteen a little later in life although the seeds were already there for him to step into my collection. My reason for starting this journey through my past, to paraphrase Neil Young, was my father’s vinyl collection. My father died recently, and he left a vast collection of vinyl including 78’s which I suppose are technically shellac. His CD collection was even more extensive, but it was the vinyl that fascinated me.

Cordes Sur Ciel and a whole Lot of rain

This excerpt is from my French travel book – OFF THE AUTOROUTE, the fifth in my Series of French travel memoirs. Please enjoy on Amazon including Kindle Unlimited. It will take you on a tour of France from Calais to the South and back through Brittany and Normandy. It is time to move on, andContinue reading “Cordes Sur Ciel and a whole Lot of rain”

Normandy – First Impressions of Touring France

The dawn chorus was just thinking about making an appearance when we started our approach to the ferry terminal at Portsmouth. It was then that I realized why my mouth had gone so dry and my hands were shaking. I had not got the faintest idea of how to proceed to the ferry and an embarrassed fear set in. Where on earth do I go – what lane do I take?

Jackson Browne – Late for the Sky

It would be fair to say that Jackson Browne has for me brought out more feelings about life and all that it can throw at you than any other writer. He is my go to songwriter if I want to feel better about just about anything. That may seem strange as he is to some perhaps viewed as a melancholic, slightly cynical writer. True in part, but for me no one captures the human spirit and condition better than he does. For a writer to do that from such an early age is astonishing, as shown with his mature writing of ‘These Days’, one of his first compositions.

‘Late for the Sky’, released in 1974, actually the day prior to me seeing CSNY at Wembley Stadium, a concert that opened for me by hearing ‘Take it Easy’ blasting out over the sound system as I entered the arena. That song would be my first introduction to his work.

Fairport Convention – History of Fairport Convention

I wish I could tell you definitively how Fairport Convention became such an important part of my musical life, but I cannot explain it. No one I knew had ever heard of them let alone had an album to share with me. I suspect it was my friend Chris’s guitar playing brother who left this album lying around. I don’t think it could have been his as he was into introspective guitar playing songwriters. Maybe Sandy Denny prompted an interest. However it happened, one day this album found its way onto our shared turntable and for a time rarely left it – I bought my own copy shortly afterwards.

Emmylou Harris – Pieces of the Sky

The first thing that strikes you about this album is the cover. It is loaded with sentiment. Emmylou looks pensive, alone, wistful on the front. She is lost in thought – what would Gram think of this album and why isn’t he here? Above the photo is maybe a nod to Gram – an angel looking over her as she starts on her musical path alone. On the reverse she is dreamlike in a flowing light dress. Emmylou is in the desert, the scene of her unhappiness and the loss of her dreams. Was she there as the fire raged in the canyon? As James Taylor said ‘This is not a time for levity’. It is a heart-breaking cover, but does she move on with the music?

Neil Young – Time Fades Away

Carole King – Tapestry       1971

I was not one for spending money, of which I had little, on music. Music came in and out of my life, but sport was my main interest. I do recall though cycling around the whole town, visiting every newsagent, to try to buy a copy of a music magazine that was offering full lyrics of the latest hits. A girl I adored as a ten-year-old loved the Walker Brothers and I thought she would be truly impressed if I knew the lyrics. I failed to get a copy as all were sold out – so back to football instead.

TRAVEL BLOG More NEW Stories Please Enjoy these short memoirs and more

My passion is writing about travel and particularly French travel. I have traveled extensively in France and wine and food has always featured on my travels and now in my books. My friends always await our return from France with the latest new finds from the vineyards and I was more than happy to keepContinue reading “TRAVEL BLOG More NEW Stories Please Enjoy these short memoirs and more”

NEW French Travel Book out NOW – Photography from the Book

Please enjoy this selection of photography from my new book They are taken on Fuji print film and Nikon & Olympus Digital Cameras My fifth book about our twenty five years of French travel is due out in the summer of 2022, early July. It is mainly new writing and sets out to tour FranceContinue reading “NEW French Travel Book out NOW – Photography from the Book”