Guitar maker, Sevilla

Two-and-a-half hours or so by high-speed train, through rugged country and farmland, brought us to the city of Sevilla, where the temperature was 36 Celsius and the sun was infernally burning deep into the old stone plazas and narrow lanes of the touristy but beautiful quarter of Santa Cruz where, after casting about with increasing […]

Quirky Madrid

Madrid is a cosmopolitan capital, a seat of empire, replete with boulevards, fountains, museums, palaces – and of course more cathedrals and churches per square mile than the British have pubs. It is also a city of narrow, crooked streets, bars, restaurants, whole stores dedicated to jamon, turron and other delicacies and treats, a city […]

O joy, business travel

Business travel is fun, ne? Take Monday, for instance. Up at 4.30 in the morning, to drive to the airport (drive, because the blerrie Gautrain workers are on strike), attend two (good) meetings with the Western Cape government, go for a (very good) lunch at a brand new restaurant on Bree Street, then head back […]

Off to Madikwe!

So this is what you do when you are about to head off to Madikwe, the private game reserve close to the Botswana border where every year your grown-up daughter and son-in-law and their friends go to play: you spend the morning before departure finishing your shopping; packing; buying booze; the afternoon checking your bins […]

Skittering across the water – the (un)Common Moorhen

Marievale Bird Sanctuary is a small area of wetland, bounded by farms, distant dwellings, power pylons, a highway, about an hour’s drive east of Johannesburg, and – despite its size – home to an astonishing variety and number of birds, waterfowl in particular. The last (and only) time I had been there was about ten […]