Sarah Coles

Travel Blog

June 13th, 2023

King of Colour – Edinburgh

Margot says you must see Kaffe Fassett at the Dovecot!  Kaffe Fassett?  It rings a bell, yes, at Alf and Niki’s wedding he and another gay man admired the jacket I was wearing.  It was faded black cotton, embroidered with pale yellow suns that I’d bought at a market in Dali, China for 20 dollars.  I was pleased at the compliment but when he introduced himself I’d never heard of Kaffe Fassett, quilter, embroiderer extraordinaire.  Since then I have, and wish I had talked and asked more.  So now in Edinburgh, off...


May 15th, 2023


2023 Late April in Edinburgh 67 bus stop at North Bridge, then nearly an hour on the 67 to Pencuik. winding through  suburbs with the prim little houses (based on crofts?), warehouses and shopping centres of south Edinburgh, and sometimes glimpsing the Pentland Hills.  Thank heavens builders don’t put houses on hills unless they have to, they want it flat, leaving jagged country gloriously free.   A few fields and then – sorry Scotland – a typical mean Scotch village, Rosslyn.  The driver calls, and several of us get out. A fancy...


January 16th, 2023

2022 – GREECE AGAIN, 1. Athens. Delphi and the Corycian Cave

Greece, Greece, we must go to Greece, says B.  He’s 91.  I get tickets. Why am we so smitten by Greece?  From the first time I saw Athens, coming in by bus and glimpsing the Parthenon floating on the Acropolis I have loved the place. Forget the slavery, men’s views on women, their bellicosity and infighting, that touchy Achilles, their religion which has nothing of transcendence or universal love, and think of the Greek love of beauty – the sight of a beautiful naked body! (why did this vanish with Christianity?) – their...


January 12th, 2023

2022 – GREECE AGAIN, 2. The Peloponnese and Athens

Over the new bridge and the blue Gulf of Corinth onto the Peloponnese.  A peninsula. PATRAS Industrial buildings all the way to the port of Patras, happily not that far.  We are disgorged at the dock for Italian ferries.  No hotel booked, but eventually a taxi comes and I tell him the Astir Hotel because my ipad showed a swimming pool on its roof.  A large, dark, shiny impersonal hotel, used for conventions, weddings and the like.  Yes, a room, and when we get there it is a view (oh how views matter!) across the gulf to Byron’s...


May 16th, 2022


May 2022. A lift to Cheesefoot Head. The distant blue chimneys are Fawley Oil Refinery on Southampton Water (?). Wheat, here not tall yet. Path strewn with massive flints. Apron of open downland spreads out for miles. Sporadic sun lights the ground with fleeting, angels. Path becomes hedged. Jack-by-the-Hedge, also known as Garlic Mustard for its smell when rubbed (must try). Blue ground ivy. Blue self heal. Mostly coarser than the flowers of spring. Sapphires of speedwell. White butterflies, and cow parsley which I imagine wafts a gentle...


May 2nd, 2022


Maybe days of long distance walks are over – Bob is nearly 91 and I don’t like to leave him too long – besides, I can’t do more than eight miles a day or rather, it feels too much, it ends being a weary tramp.  Anyhow, during the Covid years, 2020 and 2021, it was only local walks, and now the pubs have reopened, what could be better than ending at a pub with Bob there to take me home?  Sometimes I take a bus to the starting point.  Sometimes Bob leaves me somewhere, and I get the bus back to Alresford. What has transformed my...


March 26th, 2022


Two long Covid years, not going anyway except to Landmark buildings with the family – great but there’s rain, shopping, washing up and cooking – we take it in turn.  These days I am slow, and Bob’s walking is poor.  He says mournfully, I’ll never go to Egypt again … But, Margot and I look up flights, and there are cheap EasyJet flights to Hurghada on the Red Sea.  We are booked!  Geordie buys me three prints from the bookshop, torn from old books, of Luxor from the water, Valley of the Kings and Plain of Thebes. The Covid...


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


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