Tuesday, 28 March 2017

LIFE IN RIO DE JANEIRO - A short story

I've been mulling over how to document my recent trip to South America. Instead of simply posting a few photos with captions, I'm going to use the photos as prompts for stories. 

They weren't getting any younger. Their money had run out again so her husband was out touting for any work he could get. She took the opportunity to relax and have a leisurely strip wash.

When her husband had cobbled together a shower, she had tried to show her appreciation, but she knew the contraption wouldn’t last. Sure enough, within a few weeks it had broken beyond repair. She didn’t mind. A basin of water had always done the job.

In just one month Carnival would be upon them. She smiled to herself. So many ways to make a bit of money during Carnival, even if they were rarely legal. Why should she care? All those rich tourists would be ripe for the picking.

Talking of tourists, she could hear another bus load winding up the narrow favela street on their way to see Christ the Redeemer, the mighty statue which had stood sentinel over the city since the 1930’s.

The tourists wouldn't see much of him in the mist and rain today, but the weather never seemed to stop them. 

She wrapped a raggedy towel tightly across her breasts and looked out of her window. The bus inched past her building.

‘Go on,’ she thought. ‘Have a good gawp at us.’ She smiled to herself again. ‘What you don’t realise is that we’re gawping at you and your ridiculous, empty lives. Lives so empty you pay good money to visit a statue you can barely see in the rain and take a look along the way at how we slum dwellers live. Do you feel sorry for me?

Hah! Well, let me tell you something – my life is richer than yours will ever be.’

The tourists always gave her a good laugh.

Thanks for reading my blog. Your comments are always very welcome. See you in a week or two.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy St Patrick's Day

Since the 17th Century the Irish have celebrated a religious feast day in commemoration of their patron saint on the 17th March every year. 

Parades are held in towns and cities all over Ireland and in many parts of the world.

I went to my local town's parade this afternoon which was well attended despite the rain.

Dancing to traditional music was fun to watch.

Live entertainment in the supermarket made a pleasant change.

Last year everyone enjoyed the parade in the sunshine.

Do let me know if you've enjoyed this little snapshot of our special day in the Emerald Isle. 

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

A DIFFERENT VIEW - Mini-Series Part 4 - FRANCE

I love France. So many of its cities, towns and villages have maintained their historic cores and are wonderful to explore. Paris is one of my favourite cities and even if you've never visited, you are surely familiar with its most recognised monument.

The Eiffel Tower

I'm now going to take you on a little whirlwind tour around other parts of France for a different view.

Reims Cathedral

This country abounds with churches and cathedrals. 

The kings of France were crowned in Reims Cathedral.


Lovely old buildings like this one can be found in many French villages.

Poppies are used to commemorate the lives lost in World War One because these flowers grew on the French battlefields after the war had ended.

Kite surfing on France's Atlantic coast is a popular pastime.

As is fishing...

France has a strong agricultural industry.

And how's this for a witty art installation?

Fields of sunflowers brighten the countryside.

Or perhaps a balloon ride would be the best way to see some of France from a different view?

Do let me know if you've enjoyed this post and I'll reply to all comments when I return from my travels later this month.

Saturday, 18 February 2017


Malaysia is split between two land masses. West - or Peninsular - Malaysia is sandwiched between Thailand and Singapore. East Malaysia lies on the island of Borneo and shares that huge island with Indonesia and Brunei.

Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur on the peninsular, is regularly depicted by the iconic Petronas Towers. 

All very dramatic, but let's travel east across the peninsular for a different view.

Now, let's cross the South China Sea to Borneo for another view - 
and I'm not referring to Malaysia's most famous ape, the orang-utan. You can see my orang-utan photos from last April's A-Z Challenge: O is for Orang-utan.

Away from the sophistication of Kuala Lumpur, and the jungles of Borneo where a few wild orang-utans still survive lies a world of tiny islands, with white beaches the texture of talcum powder, shimmering under a hot sun.

Kota Kinabalu

For me, the biggest attraction of East Malaysia's city of Kota Kinabalu was the wonderful, friendly locals.

I can almost taste those barbecued fish.

Kota Kinabalu

Before you ask, I have to confess I can't tell you what they were grinding. If anyone knows, do tell!

Please let me know if you've enjoyed this post. I'll reply to all comments when I return from my travels in March.

Saturday, 4 February 2017


Whether or not you have visited this fascinating sub-continent, India surely conjures many iconic images. 

Who hasn't seen photos of the Taj Mahal? I almost skipped a visit to Agra on the grounds that I didn't need to see a building I was already well acquainted with. Fortunately, I did go and for the first time in my life I was reduced to tears by a building. 

The moral of this story is: if you have an opportunity to visit a world renowned place, just do it!

Anyway, I digress...

I could show you photos of the Taj Mahal and a variety of other famous places and buildings in India, but, in the spirit of this mini-series, I'm going to show you a different view instead.

Sam sand dunes, Thar Desert

I prefer to capture people in my photos, if possible.


Failing that, I'll settle for animals.

Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

Or a gorgeous sunset.

But people going about their daily lives are always a source of fascination for me.

Although sacred cows are ubiquitous in towns and cities and the locals barely notice them, it's a thrill for the visitor who bumps into one in a narrow street.


But people photos are my favourite and if I can only capture a silhouette, then so be it.

Thar Desert

Please leave a comment if you've enjoyed my snapshot of Rajasthan. 

I'll reply when I return from my travels in March.

Saturday, 21 January 2017


Whether I'm looking for subject matter for a travel article or a piece of fiction, I like to keep an eye open for fresh viewpoints. 

As well as writing notes, photos are a useful tool (and essential for travel features).

Take Amsterdam. 

We expect to see those iconic images... canals and bicycles perhaps?

Or how about a cheese shop?

Or an establishment in the famous Red Light District?

The last thing you might expect to see is a heron.

Or a boat complete with its own private floating sun deck and garden.

Or one with a rooftop garden.

And yet I took all these photos in Amsterdam.

Okay, so this was on the edge of the city...

As was this bee on a flower, but these photos show Amsterdam from a different, fresh view that you may not have seen before.

I hope you've enjoyed this first post in my new mini-series: 'A Different View'.

I'm away in South America right now, hopefully gathering lots of material for my writing. 
In the meantime, do please leave a comment and I promise I'll respond on my return in March.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017



To continue with my Venice trip...

One of the joys of exploring this city was the constant surprises.

Who could have dreamt what was hidden at the end of this fairly dreary looking street?

And never mind the well worn tourist trail - I'm more interested in looking at normal Venetian life.

In the lead up to Christmas, these Venetians hadn't got around to decorating their Christmas Tree.

Walking the dog takes on a new meaning as I observed this owner clambering out of his boat while his dog patiently waited.

I loved this wonderfully 'untouristy', slightly beaten up looking cafe.

I did ask this Gondolier's permission, so I think his expression is due to the cold and not from me taking his photo.

I hope you've enjoyed this post and would love to hear your thoughts.

I'm going away on a fairly long trip to South America in a couple of weeks, so I'll leave a few scheduled posts to pop up during my absence. 

It's going to be a low-tech trip because I want to concentrate on being in the moment instead of obsessing over whether I can find a wifi signal! So I won't be responding to any comments or visiting any blogs until I return in March. I hope you understand.