Category Archives: Travel

ULSTER FOLK MUSEUM – Charlie Chaplin and why spades matter

Blacksmiths taking a lot of care making a decorative ram's head fire poker.

Blacksmiths taking a lot of care making a decorative ram’s head fire poker.


We’re stingy, we Dutch tourists. We’re only visiting the Ulster Folk Museum because it’s cheaper than Titanic Belfast and the parking is free.

We expect an hour or so poking around a cheesy open air museum will be plenty, then we’ll go looking for a cafe with affordable coffee and scones and fill in the rest of the day somehow.

It turns out we need a change of plan. We love the folk museum! Continue reading

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TO MARKET, TO MARK-UP IN HONG KONG

Local vegetable market, Hong Kong Central.

Local vegetable market, Hong Kong Central.

What am I doing here? I don’t like shopping. I already have too much stuff, I’m not going to cook any food tonight and anything I buy I’ll have to lug around for the next few days.

So why does every visit to a new town start in places where buying and selling is the whole idea? Continue reading

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INDONESIA’S UNDISCOVERED ISLANDS

Students from Pulau Jang school.

The coolest guys at Pulau Jang school!

I almost feel guilty about sharing this. There is a part of Indonesia that is unspoilt, with beautiful beaches, patches of dense forest, skies in which you can see the stars and friendly local people with a relaxed attitude to the very few tourists that come here.

Would we want it to become the next Bali or Phuket? Despite my raving about it, I don’t think a blog post is likely to make that happen. Continue reading

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THE WORLD’S GREATEST TRAIN TRIP

Welcome aboard, madam.

Welcome aboard, madam.

Fairfax Media recently published my article on our fabulous trip on the train rated the world’s most luxurious. So now here on the blog is the full story on our envy-breeding adventure… Continue reading

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Filed under India

A HEAP OF HOCKNEY – Salt’s Mill, Yorkshire

Saltaire gets the colourful Hockney treatment.

Saltaire gets the colourful Hockney treatment.

Build a smart new museum and someone will complain that it lacks soul. Convert an old industrial site to a cultural facility and it immediately becomes a cool place.

Salt’s Mill was the thriving hub of Bradford’s booming textile industry in the 19th century. Now it’s an art centre, boasting the world’s largest permanent collection of work by Bradford-born and Yorkshire-resident David Hockney.

Thanks to what is turning out to be an inspired home exchange, Mevrouw T and I are spending the Easter break in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, England

TELUNAS TOP TWELVE – best shots

Despite all the interesting learning experiences on offer at Telunas, the kids invariably have one highlight - jumping off the deck.

Despite all the interesting learning experiences on offer at Telunas, the kids invariably have one highlight – jumping off the deck. It often makes the best shot too.

While the writers’ camp at Telunas Beach is supposed to be all about words, for me it’s about pictures too.

I’d bought a new camera lens and this was its first outing. It’s an ‘all-in-one’ Tamron 18-270mm, so naturally there are compromises of image quality at both ends of the range, though on the whole I found it did the job. The advantage of the big zoom is that I could get close to people without making them too aware they were in shot, thus getting a little more spontaneity.

And in Indonesia’s lovely Riau Islands, there is always something worth pointing the camera at. Continue reading

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Filed under Indonesia, travel photography

TERIMA KASIH (Thanks!) JAGA ISLAND!

We don't speak Bahasa, they don't speak English, but we can all learn handgames. handgames.

We don’t speak Bahasa, you don’t speak English, but we can all learn handgames.

Not many people visit Pulau Jaga, Indonesia. It isn’t easy to find. Google Maps doesn’t even name it. ‘Did you mean “Java, Indonesia”?’ says the Google search engine, trying as ever to be helpful.

No, I did mean Jaga, an island in the Riau Archipelago, two and a half hours by boat south of Singapore. Jaga is some 2.5km long and 500m across, home to perhaps 90 families, most of them supported by fishing. There are no hotels, no restaurants, no roads and no cars. There is a school, however, and we were invited to visit it. It was a privilege and a pleasure. Continue reading

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Filed under Indonesia