Sarah Coles

Travel Blog

November 2nd, 2021


Spitalfields – the name comes not from spittle but from Hospital – St Mary’s Hospital in the in the middle ages.  Now it’s the liveliest part of London.  It doesn’t have the dead feel of Belgravia, or the cheap tourist vibe of Oxford Street.  Here, Brick Lane has Bangladeshi, Korean, Vietnamese, French restaurants, for locals.  It has a shop with nothing but varieties of Turkish delight.  I meet artist nephew Nick in the nearby market – he says, let’s eat here, but I say no, I’m not sitting on a bench munching a van...


August 2nd, 2021

Astley Castle -The Best Landmark Property of All

THE BEST Our first Landmark holiday was at Ascog on the Isle of Bute, when Dexter was four months old – now he is nineteen.  With Dexter, Bob and me, Bill and Margot with Geordie three years later, Ann who was at school with me in the 50s and Mike, and others from time to time, we have been to a Landmark property almost every year since.  Margot says it’s how she’s got to know the countryside. Every Landmark whether castle, farmhouse, townhouse, stable or mansion is a dilapidated historic property renovated by the Landmark Trust...


June 11th, 2021

2020 EGYPT again


January 22nd, 2021


COVID AGAIN! Last year, we thought Covid would come and go like Spanish flu – killing plenty, sure, but over after a few months.  In fact Covid has rumbled on since March 2020 and it’s now January 2021.  We are in our third lockdown, with spiky graphs climbing higher and higher, and reports of overflowing hospitals and a coffin shortage.  In ‘free’ periods not many people were about, and a plus was the joy travelling by train or going to the cinema because no one could sit beside you. Now, again everywhere except essential shops...


October 11th, 2020


Bill drove us to Portobello and parked among an estate of very proper 1930s bungalows.  Weirdly, a 19th century mausoleum like a giant concrete block towers over them.  It is the Craig Miller Mausoleum (what Miller did no one seems to know) and its sides depict the crossing of the Red Sea.    One has a plaque with the Israelites, a man and dancing maidens, called ‘the song of Moses and Miriam’.  There’s a hen or two, and a cow.  Water laps their feet.  On the other side is Pharaoh on his chariot – you’d recognise him anywhere...


May 8th, 2020

A Journey with Corona Virus. Living in a Pandemic

Illness is the travel of the poor, they say, and I meanly agreed.  I thought how people like Mary Hillier, my daily, lovingly discussed the symptom of illnesses, like places visited on holiday. Corona virus, or Covid 19. We’re still in the middle of Corona lockdown, and I told Geordie (15, in Edinburgh) to keep a diary of this weird time, then thought, I’d better make a note myself, since I have actually – I presume – had it. Symptoms are so varied – you can have it without knowing, you can have it badly, and you can have it...


March 20th, 2020


2020 Jan to Feb. EGYPT BLOG Egypt keeps calling.  We want to go to Luxor. But, return flights to Luxor are about £750.  So, we got return flights to Hurghada, diving resort on the Red Sea, for about £240.  Because Bob’s walking is poor, I asked for Assistance going through Gatwick, normally the most horrid airport around, with spiteful sadistic Security.  Assistance was bliss – ah the luxury of being treated as a sweet harmless imbecile – Security so gentle, and then a large area with padded chairs where we sat until called,...


November 17th, 2018


Greece – the islands, the churches, Athens, the air, the little lanes creeping up the green sides of the Acropolis. ATHENS In the isle of Tinos, Bob is  feeling unwell, he thinks he may have appendicitis. (When we get home, they say it’s gallstones, but it isn’t and the whole thing fades away. I think he feels he can do more than he’s up to, he gets so excited by the thought of all these places, Delos etc). So, I say we’d better skip any idea of Andros, and get home. I buy ferry tickets to Piraeus, and from there we get a...


November 16th, 2018


TINOS   Small ferry to another marble island, Tinos, the Lourdes of Greece. Or Knock of Ireland, or Fatima of Portugal. In 1822, time of Greek reunification, a nun Pelagia had a vision in which she saw a buried icon painted by St Luke. (Bernadette, other young women, children, it’s amazing how these visions all over the place fire up pilgrimage sites). Pelagia got everyone digging, and the was duly unearthed. A slew of miracles, particularly healing and rescuing ships at sea, was effected through its intervention. A massive church was...


November 14th, 2018


The sacred island of Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Centre of the world, and after wandering through the sea the island was pinned where it now is by Neptune. No one could profane it by birth or death, for which people had to go to the adjacent island of Rheneia. ‘Oh how I wish I had listened to Whitfield lecturing on the Delian league’ says Bob. (That was over sixty years ago)… Today no one is allowed to spend the night here – and the only way to visit is a day trip from Mykonos. Which we do. First time we go...


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