Category Archives: Travel

Osh Bazaar

The first thing to know is that it isn’t in Osh. Rather, it is in the capital Bishkek. Why this bazaar shares the name of Kyrgyzstan’s second city is uncertain. Perhaps it’s because it is here that you come to … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Thingvellir

The winter solstice marks the dark frontier of the annual cycle: that time of year when days are at their shortest; the period of feasting before the corner of the year is turned and daylight and warmth return to awaken barren … Continue reading

Posted in History, Islands, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Snettisham

There’s a good omen as we leave Heacham before dawn: the sharp cry of a tawny owl emanating from somewhere in the woods. Fifteen minutes later, walking from Snettisham RSPB car park towards the beach at The Wash, there are … Continue reading

Posted in Norfolk, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Kyrgyz Graveyards

You see them everywhere in Kyrgyzstan. From afar they resemble hillside villages of mud-brick dwellings but a closer look reveals them to be cemeteries. Usually located a little way outside a village, sometimes on top of a low bluff, they … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Crossing Morecambe Bay

Of all the footpaths and byways that criss-cross our ancient landscape probably the most enigmatic are those that cannot be mapped because of their very impermanence. Such routes can only be defined by their start and end points rather than … Continue reading

Posted in Northern England, Travel, Walking | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Arslanbob – In Walnut Tree Shade

It had been almost eight years since I was last in Arslanbob, a tantalisingly spread-out settlement in Kyrgyzstan’s Jalal-Abad province. As before, I had arrived at the start of Ramadan – the moon was new, the mosque was full; a holiday … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Human Geography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Yuri Gagarin’s Holiday

When Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned from the first successful manned space flight in 1961 he took a well-deserved holiday. We can only assume that this took place after a considerable debriefing by the Soviet military – it was, after … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

San-Tash: The Riddleof the Stones

A large pile of stones in the Karkara valley: in the far northeast of Kyrgyzstan, close to the Kazakhstan border, San-Tash is an enigma. What can this pile alongside one of the ancient Silk Road routes possibly represent? Who placed … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh!

I don’t quite know what it is that has made me think of Vietnam recently. Maybe it was a casual mention in a conversation that made me realise that I don’t have a very vivid memory of the short time I … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mildred Holland’s Seven-year Task

Mildred Holland was an unusual and determined woman. Not content with  being merely the new rector’s wife at St Mary’s, the parish church at Huntingfield in northeast Suffolk, Mildred took it on herself to singlehandedly repaint the ceiling of the church’s hammerbeam roof. … Continue reading

Posted in History, Suffolk, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments