Sarah Coles

Travel Blog

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


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,...


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