Anger on a train

I’m just going to vent about personal stereos that aren’t personal. Cheap tiny little headphones that bleed what must be akin to low dosage tinnitus to everyone within five meters. It’s the 1150 Southern service to Brighton and the fuzzy, metallic,maddening noise has now been invading my conscious for the past 20 minutes. As we… Read more »

Blowing into American art

It appears there’s always a treasure or two that one has overlooked. One has never seen it all. Amazingly, I had managed to never visit either the Whitney Museum of American Art or the Frick Collection on previous trips to New York City. The first is housed in a spanking new building with an unknown… Read more »

The Horror of Halloween

Dressing up in silly costumes and letting your hair down or indeed teasing your wig up are alright by me. Even so, I find the frenzied commercial bloodfest that descends on the USA in the run up to Halloween unsavoury. As a child in England in the 70’s, I remember Halloween as the very poor… Read more »

Football comes to Citifield

Finally I have been to a football game in the USA. It was at Citifield in Queens; a baseball stadium and home to the New York Mets. After buying my ticket ($30), I chatted to a couple of NYCFC fans wearing what to me seemed at first glance to be Manchester City tops. The two… Read more »

Stranger on the Bus

New York New York doesn’t let me get too comfortable. Just as I start thinking I knew my way around there is a twist to the system. I caught the cross town bus in mid Manhattan to go to Central Park to meet friends. In Queens, you have to punch a ticket in the machine… Read more »

Fashion in NYC: work it baby!

The fashion industry is a bit of a mystery to me. In my teens, I was a sporty book nerd, a baby dyke and, put bluntly, I was never going to be a catwalk model. Though some clothing companies are now attempting to be inclusive with their ad campaigns, the media in general bombards us… Read more »

New sights in New York

Let’s state the obvious: There is always something new to explore in NYC. If you think you’ve seen it all, you are deluded. Amongst new discoveries for me this trip are a sculpture park and the home of the city’s mayor. The two places sit almost facing each other on opposite sides of the East… Read more »

Oops, back here again

It’s approaching 1am and I’m on the stopping train from Manhattan to Queens. The 7 is clattering eastwards loaded with a cosmopolitan late night crowd. My fellow travellers share an air of having lived a long day. They are also united by diversity. I wonder just how many languages are spoken by those who sit,… Read more »

NYC: Manhattan v Queens

Time changes everything and New York is no different. Two obvious examples: The Village Voice street distributors are now empty, the magazine’s now online only and there’s a new subway line, the Q, descending through Manhattan. Gentrification, like a rampant plant has spread through the streets I pounded in my younger years, even those where… Read more »

The difference a smile makes

Travelling by plane, that magical experience of looking down through the clouds and feeling free as a bird, has had its wings clipped somewhat by modern reality. These days, flights of fantasy are squeezed between the harsh realities of our times. There are queues for baggage drops, long lines at security checks, treks to distant gates… Read more »

  • From beaches to blizzards

    They may say the rain in Spain falls on the plain, I can attest that it also drops on the country’s Northern fringes rather a lot. I’ve gone from sunny beaches, to downpours to snow in a little over 36 hours. Firstly, I should say that crossing the border just 7 minutes from my French campsite… Read more »

  • One week in: some lessons

    Taking stock One week on the road and it’s time to pause and think about practicalities. To date, I have used my wet weather gear, camping cafetiere, walking boots, extra Hoody and my satnav a lot. In fact, my satnav is my new best friend but don’t tell Libé. Some lessons learnt driving the length… Read more »

  • Balzac & Jeanne d’Arc

    Aimlessly wandering in Loire The great thing about travelling is stumbling upon places that surprise you and throw up nuggets of knowledge. I was driving from A to B via back roads and small hamlets when the Sat Nav took me past a sign for the Balzac Museum. It turns out Balzac and I have… Read more »

  • Stormy nights in the Loire

    Storm Zeus blows in It is wise to keep an eye on the weather when on a campervan road trip. I hadn’t been aware such a fearsome storm was approaching. Fortunately, Libé and I were only windswept & drenched in rain. No harm to us and I crouched with the roof staying down on Sunday… Read more »

  • A donkey and new born calves

    Let’s get to the practicalities of campervan travelling on a budget, namely where to stop for the night. Wild camping may be fine if you have a travel companion (which I do for parts of my trip) but solo… I’m not so keen. This is where France Passion comes in. I just hadn’t quite prepared myself… Read more »