The end of an era – first published August 18, 2012

Brewed in Percolator

The Mad House experience was well and truly over. The last call had been taken the last sale had been made, the last person had gone through the turnstile and swiped their card for the very last time. The Mad House building was officially closed for good. No more stats, no wrap time or call length, no more side by sides or QA forms. We’d all said goodbye to morning ‘cuddle’ and Tuesday afternoon team talk at the pub, briefings, system crashes, team nights out and Thursday afternoon fire alarm checks. There was just one more thing to do… Continue reading The end of an era – first published August 18, 2012

From ossuary to graveyard in one afternoon

L'avenue du Général-Leclerc
L’avenue du Général-Leclerc

22 November 2014

Leaving the catacombs behind we wandered, slightly dazed, onto L’avenue du Général-Leclerc, quite some distance from the place we’d entered l’empire de la Mort. Our first priority was finding somewhere to eat. We found a little place called Indiana Café where we thought we might get a snack and a coffee and went inside. The snack turned out to be a huge meal, a beautiful hand made burger that surprised us by coming with salad and fries. Of course I had coffee too. Continue reading From ossuary to graveyard in one afternoon

L’Empire de la Mort

Fontaine de l'Observatoire
Fontaine de l’Observatoire

22 November 2014

The walk to objective number two took us through two more small parks one after another, Jardin des Grands Explorateurs and Jardin Marco Polo. We passed the Fontaine de l’Observatoire, designed by Gabriel Davioud and opened in 1874. The four female sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux represent Europe, Asia, Africa and America and the horses bursting out of the fountain were the work of Emmanuel Frémiet, but the thing that really drew my attention were the turtles sitting in the water. These gentle images full of movement and life were in stark contrast to the dank tunnels filled with old bones that lay ahead. Follow if you dare! Continue reading L’Empire de la Mort

Bonjour Paris

Wet pavements and sunshine, bonjour Paris
Wet pavements and sunshine, bonjour Paris

22 November 2014

On Saturday there was a plan, of sorts. This involved finding our way across the city armed only with a map and three separate objectives. We emerged from the hotel to wet streets and sunshine, it had obviously been raining at some point but the sky looked reassuringly blue. We got off to a good start, we knew which direction to go to start out. Continue reading Bonjour Paris

Under the sea to gay Paree


21 November 2014

Friday morning began with a latte in Costa Coffee and a long wait on the cold platform of Southampton Central Station. We’d arrived way too early. The lesser of two evils, it was that or leave later, get stuck in rush hour traffic and possibly miss the train. In my time I’ve spent many hours on platform one of this station. As a teenager I worked in the offices above and caught the train to and from work every week day for five years. On Staurdays in the summer I helped out on the platform, guiding people to their connecting trains. Some of the announcements are imprinted on my brain. Continue reading Under the sea to gay Paree

common land and hidden gems

Freemantle Common
Early morning on Freemantle Common

20 November 2014

After such a warm, wet autumn my little garden is in need of some tender loving care right now. Unfortunately, the need of the garden in Commando Senior’s crooked little house was greater. This meant a little morning walk across Freemantle Common with my folding secateurs in my rucksack. Thankfully it wasn’t raining and it certainly beats walking to work. Continue reading common land and hidden gems



In the end it turned out the flight delay was the least of our worries. When we finally stepped aboard the plane at Agadir airport our biggest concern was a long, late drive home. Little did we know it would be a flight we would never forget and it wouldn’t end with a drive home at all. Continue reading A FLIGHT, A HOSPITAL VISIT AND A HORRIBLE DRIVE HOME – first published 14 August 2012

a walk through the New Forest

Bolton's Bench
Bolton’s Bench

18 November 2014

Now I’d visited Alice in Wonderland’s grave and quenched my thirst in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Rooms it was time to go back to the real world. What I’d really have liked to do was walk up to Bolton’s Bench and over White Moor to Matley Wood and then through the forest to Deerleap. This is a boggy walk at the best of times though and with all the rain we’ve had it wasn’t one I dared attempt. Continue reading a walk through the New Forest

last days in Morocco – first published 13 August 2012


Our time in Morocco was coming to an end. That’s the problem with holidays, they’re never long enough and the final days are always tinged with a little sadness at the approach of normal, mundane everyday life waiting at home. Even with a new job to look forward to I wished I could stay a little longer. Continue reading last days in Morocco – first published 13 August 2012

Lyndhurst, an adventure in Wonderland

Illustration by Gwynedd M Hudson
Illustration by Gwynedd M Hudson

18 November 2014

One of my favourite childhood books was Alice in Wonderland. My copy was a thing of beauty that once belonged to Pappy and had colourful illustrations by artist Gwynedd M Hudson. I read it countless times and it captured my imagination. Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the story, lived most of her life in Lyndhurst in the New Forest and is buried in the churchyard there. As the Tuesday weather forecast hardly mentioned rain at all I thought I’d pay it a visit. Continue reading Lyndhurst, an adventure in Wonderland