Tissue of Tears… Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb – A Story

•February 10, 2017 • 35 Comments

In February, finding myself with the combination of a couple of cancelled tours and a serendipitous conversation during a walk in West London, I decided to travel to Zagreb to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships (yes, that’s a real place). Here in the museum cafe, I wrote the following short(ish) story, imagining someone doing just that… 

Dedicated to S – who else?

When you are sad, don’t go to Zagreb. And when you are alone, don’t go to Zagreb. And when it is winter and snow is falling, don’t go to Zagreb. And most of all, if you have recently lost someone you wish very much you hadn’t, don’t go to Zagreb. It’s a very grey place. For these reasons, don’t go to Zagreb.

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Alternatively, ignore all that, do fly to the Croatian capital and head straight for the Museum of Broken Relationships. For whatever reason, none of this, none of my own most excellent advice was clear to me prior to boarding. My friend knew, she told me as much; ‘you’ll be lonely’ she sent in a text. But after I arrived. She was right. So here I am… Exactly that, in Zagreb. In the cafe of that very museum. And it’s grey. Everywhere. And it’s lonely. Everywhere.

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No Golden Ticket This Year…

•December 22, 2016 • 18 Comments

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Well, that was some year wasn’t it? Goodness…

It felt like my Brexit tears had only just dried – going to sleep on June 23rd in Great Britain and waking up on June 24th in Little England – and then November 8th happened.

Usually at this time of year, one can look back upon the previous 51 weeks and, at the same time, ahead to the weeks next year has to offer, doing so without too much concern for the 52nd of this year. But in the current world?

So to us all, let me start by saying happy 52nd week of 2016.

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On this, the 22nd of December, the day of the extraction of the Spanish Loteria –

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More Than 3 And a Half Hours All For… DNF?!? ‘Hot’ Copenhagen Marathon 2016

•May 23, 2016 • 14 Comments

First, thank you so much to all who sponsored me. Once again, when that infamous ‘wall’ – bane of all Marathon runners was struck – this time 5 kms after last time at 32 kms, you once again carried me through. Having sponsors means I cannot even contemplate dropping out.

Time; 3 hours 41 minutes and 52 seconds (no PB, but my second fastest time)

200 metres to go... Will I ever just once look happy at this stage?

200 metres to go… Will I ever just once look happy at this stage?

This was a great Marathon. Must humoured prior to the start by repeated announcements warning us to be aware of the ‘soaring temperatures’ likely to reach 22 degrees.

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The Monk’s Tale (2016) – A Train Journey to Brittany

•May 6, 2016 • 40 Comments

Now listen if you wish to hear. But first I beg you to excuse my ignorance if I do not tell these things in order… but put some before and some behind, as they come now into my memory.
– The Monk’s Prologue, Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

In The Canterbury Tales, The Monk’s Tale is a collection of short stories – or exempla, on the theme of tragedy. After recounting seventeen of what he claims to be hundreds held in his memory the monk is stopped by the knight, calling a halt in the name of ‘enough sadness’ (or possibly boredom).

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Here then is my attempt at my own Monk’s Tale – a true story and I’d say perhaps even a tragic story – of what befell myself and indeed a monk on our train journey to Brittany on May 5th, 2016. The following events are all true, and with my apologies to Chaucer and with no knight to spare my readers from boredom, I shall recount only this one tale of tragedy…

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Help! Sober Companion Wanted – Hunting The Green Fairy

•March 27, 2016 • 20 Comments

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Readers I need your help…

Many is the time I have turned to you for advice, help, or even in order to appeal for funds for some sort of run. And each time you have come to my rescue. This time I would like one of you to partner me chasing fairies in Switzerland. This is not quite the lost cause it may initially sound like as firstly, we would be hunting for only one; the Green One, or as the locals would call it La Fée Verte and secondly, I am pretty sure I know where to look.

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At this point I would love the above to be sufficient information for one adventurous soul to sign up. However, for good measure, and as I can’t expect you all to be that crazy, I will provide a little more background…

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What a Coincidence – Creating4Change – Finding a ‘Cause’

•February 18, 2016 • 10 Comments

How funny life can be at times and truly what a small world…

See that photo in the insert below? The one of thousands of examples of the beautiful street art in Rio de Janeiro; look familiar? Yes? Well, just read on…

This is an appeal especially to all my American readers, many of whom I’ve met through my work guiding with Road Scholar and especially to those of you who are present or former educators, please consider the following…

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Most of you will know I run Marathons and some of you have found ways to sponsor me and my chosen charities for my efforts in both Paris and Lisbon. However, it has not been easy for friends in the US to sponsor UK-based charities.

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When You Have to Shoot, Shoot. Don’t Talk…

•January 14, 2016 • 5 Comments

That morning I packed an overnight bag, not knowing whether come nightfall, I’d be sleeping in Africa.

One of the best things about this ‘travel’ thing, which everyone seems to aspire to, love, seek, comment on, ponder, dream about, look forward to, budget for, write about, has to be just how easy it is to do. I am grateful that sometimes people need a gentle hand, some history, assistance or pointing in the right direction otherwise who knows what I’d be doing for a living?

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I fear after 22 years of it, travelling is really the only thing I might just be good at.

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The All Seeing Eye – or ‘A Costly Way Home’

•January 6, 2016 • 14 Comments

This short piece (really a photography essay) is dedicated to all the photographers and would-be photographers that have travelled on my tours this past year; you’ll appreciate this one (I hope)…

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A camera is a save button for the minds eye – Roger Kingston

One afternoon in November on my last tour of 2015 around sunset, with a wonderful group of travellers, I set off for the last bus journey of the season from a little village high in the so called Pyrenees of Malaga.

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The Soul Snatcher of Rio de Janeiro – An Adventure in Street Art

•January 5, 2016 • 3 Comments

Surely just about every blogger, travel website owner or aspiring Rick Steves has at some point written something – or posted a series of arty shots about street art. ‘Street art?’ What happened to ‘graffiti’? During the 80s it was thought of as vandalism, now we call this visual, often unsanctioned work, carried out more or less spontaneously in various public locations, ‘neo-graffiti’, ‘post-graffiti’, ‘urban art’ or even ‘guerilla art’ and it is very much… cool.

My Favourite Banksy

My Favourite Banksy

In large part street art’s status as cool, occasionally establishment even, is thanks to artists such as Banksy (staged or not, I love ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’), Keith Harring or Shephard Fairey, people who have jumped the traditional gap between artist and viewer – and managed to communicate directly with their public.

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The White Forest of Andalusia

•January 5, 2016 • 6 Comments

Once, when the world was younger, high in the hills which need crossing if one sets off from Granada with intent to reach the coast a long day’s march away, there grew a forest. A white forest. Those who knew of it even whispered; an enchanted forest.

Now in calling it a forest, these same people probably intended to lend an air of importance to this gathering of trees, which their total number possibly failed to fully justify. For altogether, were one to set aside the time required for counting them, one would reach 47, not one more, nor one fewer.

Almond Trees Andalusia

However, as people who reached this spot which lay just over the ridge

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