Category Archives: Latin America

Mellow fruitfulness

First frost this morning. The trees on Birnam Hill are starting to turn—though not, curiously, as dramatically as they were in the Lot-et-Garonne where we were last week. There the oaks that mantle the vast Quercy forest had taken on … Continue reading

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A trip to Serendip

Serendipity, once voted the nation’s favourite word, is an increasingly frequent visitor in my life. It means a happy accident, or a pleasantly unexpected turn of events. The word was coined by Horace Walpole in the mid-18th century, after reading … Continue reading

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Mating call

Do these serendipitous moments happen more frequently as one gets older? Or is it simply that one becomes more alert to the possibility of connections as intimations of mortality start to bear in and one seeks a more secure anchorage … Continue reading

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On the road

In 1967, my last year at school, I discovered that there was a bursary for classicists to travel to Greece. It was one of those things that no one told you about but I got wind of it somehow and … Continue reading

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Constant craving

I was talking to my eldest daughter about last week’s post and my South American travels. The conversation moved on to the 60s and 70s in general, and the music in particular. Sophie is 31 and the mother of my … Continue reading

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Halfway to heaven

Watching the YouTube film of my Latin American trip opened the floodgates again. There are still so many moments that remain clearly imprinted on my memory, almost forty years later: sailing to the Galapagos Islands on a cargo steamer, driving … Continue reading

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Close encounter

In December 1972 I quit my job at Hatchards bookshop in Piccadilly and flew to Argentina with my girlfriend. There we met up with 30 other travellers of all nationalities and stripes who had signed up for a trip with … Continue reading

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Breaking up is hard to do

I’ve been dismembering one of my books, painstakingly taking it apart, page by page, so that each comes away from the glue of the spine cleanly, a perfect rectangle. It’s a strange, not entirely comfortable, feeling. The book in question … Continue reading

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Bring on the clowns

Here’s a terrific story that surfaced in The Guardian this week in the context of the Pakistan match-fixing convictions, and the fact that corruption and gambling in Asian cricket is seen as a cultural problem. In 1995 a new mayor took office … Continue reading

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Temples of Mammon

Thirty-nine years plus a few weeks ago I started my first job. Incredible though it now seems, it was in the City. I had graduated with a law degree from Aberdeen University but wanted neither to practice law nor to … Continue reading

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