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Category Archives: Travel Writing

Seaside resorts

I’ve always been drawn to the ocean. I grew up in the Pacific Ocean resort town of Manhattan Beach, California. I have lived in Galveston, Texas (Gulf of Mexico); Nome, Alaska (Bering Sea); Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Arabian Gulf); and Brooklyn, New York, and Halifax, Nova Scotia (both on the Atlantic Ocean). I’ve also traveled […]

Scone by jammy scone

The scone as oasis within the travel oasis, or tea and scones, innit? Travel is a mental oasis for me. I love the limbo of airports, the relative freedom from e-mail, the otherworldiness of exiting a subway into the unknown, the break from constant availability. Within this cocoon of travel, however, I often need a […]

Ripple of the Blue Tattoos

Loosely based on an encounter in Dover in 1978. Heavy metal vibe. On the Dover docks one night in the middle of a barroom fight, I heard a man call out, “It’s people like you bringin’ this country down.” And wanting to hear more, I took a step inside the door; And an angry man, […]

Rejected suitors take to roaming as naturally as unhived bees.

“Rejected suitors take to roaming as naturally as unhived bees.” It’s a phrase from English poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1938) and refers to Diggory Venn (in Arthur Hopkins’ illustration, below). Venn is perhaps my favorite of the Hardy characters in the novel Return of the Native. If the hive is Wessex (Hardy’s partly real, […]

Nibbling Ireland

Touring Counties Kerry and Clare was like eating an Irish scone A poster at Shannon Airport proclaimed, “Ireland: the world’s favorite country.” And the scone is my favorite pastry. A perfect combination. Traveling through Counties Kerry and Clare that August was a lot like eating Irish scones. And I say Irish scones because I live […]

Movies and TV dramas of World War I

Many of these movies feature a mix of nationalities, but British characters and cultural references are found throughout. 1917. 2019. Two British soldiers receive seemingly impossible orders to cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could save 1,600 of their comrades, including one of the soldier’s brothers. Aces High. 1976. Maj. Gresham […]

Merthyr Tydfill

Written about man at a Cardiff bus station as I was starting a bus trip through Wales, in 1978 with teacher colleague Mary Wagner. Well, I see by your ticket that you’re goin’ up north What you wanna do that for? For there’s miners outta work, and it’s sad so sad; Misery behind each door. […]

Meeting at St. Pancras Station

The pianos      My small hotel in London is close to St. Pancras Station, which, together with King’s Cross Station, is a hub for certain local trains, underground lines, and, most notably, the Eurostar high-speed rail service. The station itself was designed by William Henry Barlow and opened in 1868. Pancras himself was a Roman who […]

Literacy through Mills & Boon

My B&B didn’t have wi-fi, so I had to go to the Weymouth Library to use theirs. I realized that the two middle-aged women huddled across the table from me were working through a book together. One was apparently the tutor, the other was learning to read. I take my literacy for granted, and on […]

A Jane Austen cup of tea

Jane Austen’s family spent time and rented rooms and floors of rooms from time to time in Bath, Somerset, England. The refurbished Roman baths provided entertainment and promised healing any and all ills. The baths are fed by Britain’s only natural hot springs, but the Romans’ complex of springs, therapy rooms, and baths had been […]