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A Art. A visit to Salford to see the Lowry exhibition. There is a permanent building dedicated to him in the regenerated Salford Quays. Famous for his matchstick men, depicting life in the grim cotton mills, he also did portraits and landscapes.            



B Ballet

C Cricket. The idea was to attend a one day or 20/20 match at Lords cricket ground. However, on a lovely English summer day, I noted our local team were playing at home. The cricket ground at Cricklade is in a lovely setting, and there is a bar plying beer from our local microbrewery. This was a no brainer. We had a lovely afternoon, not understanding anything, in fact it was only when we noticed ĎThe Red Lioní printed on the shirts of the fielders, that we realised we were supporting the wrong team. Suddenly, everyone left the field, and someone informed us we had won, and it was time to retire to the Red. I have now experienced English village cricket, on a perfect summerís day.

This day gets 






F Fulham. Craven Cottage football ground is one of the few old traditional grounds still in use, and the idea was to watch a match, to experience a bye gone age. The ground is situated on the banks of the Thames river. To our left we could see the old terraced streets and industrial chimneys which contrasted with shiny rich new Fulham being built on the river banks. On a bright cold winterís day we watched Fulham lose 2:1 to Brighton, undeserved I might add. The ground is lovely, it looks like the pitch is too small because the fans are so close to it, and it is easy to watch the action at both ends. We were Fulham fans for the day, and sat with the regular fans at the Hammersmith End. The ground was full, the atmosphere was friendly and enthusiastic with all generations represented, from the grandchildren to grandparents. Fulham fans love their club, for sure, and were in great singing voice.

Another perfect day 










K Kick Boxing. After watching staged kick boxing in the tourist areas of Nana Plaza, Bankok, we decided we would like to see the real thing. So, we boarded a water taxi, and walked through Chinatown, (a surreal experience and a bit scary, a labyrinth of narrow crowded streets with no means of escape should the locals decide to ambush and rob us, but they ignored our presence and just got on with business. The buildings were Chinese, the people were Chinese, no Thais around and we were the only Europeans, it was like another country within Bankok.) We attended the older Rajadamnern stadium to experience Muay Thai kick boxing in earnest. The fighters first go through a ritual of blessing the four corners of the ring in a type of dance which is quite hypnotic, before knocking seven bells out of each other. Betting is intense, and the referee stopped a fight and banished one fighter, for not trying hard enough.

A  experience.






P Pompeii. On holiday on the lovely Amalfi coast of Italy, we stayed a day or two in Naples and visited Pompeii. I had no idea how vast the ruins are, or how little has changed in the everyday life of the Pompeii residents and ourselves. They had villas, which a modern person would be at home in, hot fast food takeaways, markets, graffiti, and boundary disputes between neighbours. Most of the best preserved murals and artefacts are in the Naples museum, which we missed, but, luckily for us, the exhibition visited London so we caught up on what we missed. We didnít give ourselves enough time to visit Herculaneum, because we naively thought we could do both in one day. No chance. The graffiti is something the residents wrote on their own house walls, and consisted of thoughts or experiences of the day. Something I have introduced into my own home, but I am using a board with erasable ink. The Pompeii residents just painted another mural over the graffiti when the walls got full. An ancient form of redecorating.

 location. Tip allow more time.





R Rajasthan. Some years ago I watched a tv programme about an Indian tiger that left the game park, and was tracked by a two people on horseback. There was a scene where they camped on a plateau, horses in the background, and chapattis cooking on the camp fire as the sun set. The scene stayed in my mind, not thinking it would ever be possible for me. When it came to celebrating my 60th birthday, I discovered there are holidays, trekking and camping out in Rajasthan, in glamping style, on local Marwari horses. These horses are descended from the royal Rajput war horses, and are famous for their curly ears. We trekked over the Aravalli mountains, and were treated to beautiful river valleys and remote Indian villages still using oxen to raise water from Persian wells. The architecture of the Rajput forts and palaces was amazing. After our trek, which started from the lovely Udaipur, we hired a driver to explore other cities such as Jodhpur, Pushkar, (hippy heaven, beware the ĎHoly Lakeí scam.) and Jaisselmeer out in the Thar Desert. Our hosts from our trek found us a good driver, and advised on places to see. It was all very easy, we made it up as we went along, and found accommodation on Trip Advisor, as we went. Amazing. 












S Silence. Tankwa Karoo South Africa. There are few places to experience silence. Arid areas are the places to go for a deeply spiritual experience, to know the Earth is very old and you are very temporary. I first experienced it on the edges of the Kalahari and repeated it visiting friends in the Tankwa Karoo. We slept outside on the stoep, and watched the Milky Way and Magellan galaxies pass by overnight. The only artificial light was the dim glow of Capetown low down on the horizon. The shower was a tank overhead outside, heated by the sun, and providing a view to take the breath away.




UK. A Grand Tour of the UK. see Bob's Blog for this ambitious plan:  



V Volcano. Vesuvius. We wanted to climb a volcano so, on our visit to Naples we took a bus to the top of Vesuvius, and had a picnic amongst the ash and fumaroles. There is a walking route through vineyards to the top, but, as usual we did not allow enough time in Naples to get organised. Naples has a reputation as a run down city with lots of pickpockets. That is true; it looks like Hogarthís prints of the terrible tenements of Covent Garden in the 18Ϲ. Nice for the visitor to look at, but people still live in one room with no windows in narrow unlit streets, but, apart from the inevitable pickpockets (who give you a smile and a shrug when they fail to empty your pockets after jamming you in a bus door), everyone we met was friendly, cheerful and helpful. We should have spent longer than 2 days in Naples before heading to the Amalfi coast.

There are more spectacular volcanoes so Vesuvius gets 






Z Zip wire Nysna forest on the Garden Route, South Africa. This is where I made a self discovery: I donít have a tree dwelling gene in my body. I didnít mind the zip wire, but standing in a very tall tree, looking down on the tops of other very tall trees was not a place my body wanted to be. I am a ground dweller. The trees are Yellowwood trees and very high. Irrational fear cannot be overcome by rational thought. Fact. I was safe, strapped in, tied to the trees, it made no difference. Fight, flight or freeze overcomes rationality. I froze, and was sped from tree to tree with lips drawn back over teeth in a rictus smile.

Nothing against Nysna forest, but this one gets a