Thanks for reading. This blog is an opportunity for me to capture some of the diversity of my writing interests. My muse tend to appear on my shoulder as I board an international flight although not all of my writing is inspired by travel and foreign places. These blogs have been the basis of a novel (Flowers of Baghdad) but there are a few other writing projects in progress besides. Please feel free to leave a comment. Or two.

Beijing Street Barber

There are places you visit that catch the eye and you marvel at something different. Or places that engage the mind and you enjoy the way things are done differently, ingeniously and innovatively. China is NOT one of those places. It does not catch the eye. Or engage the mind. It grabs your heart. The…

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CIA Family Jewels

So the CIA is revealing its family jewels? Apparently, according to the Washington Post, though not the CIA website. Let’s see what actually happens but the prospect of revelations about CIA alleged, apparent, imagined or real misdeeds seems to have a whole lot of people in slavering anticipation. OK, given the mystique around these organisations…

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Sneaking a Kiss in Paris

Having dropped the pack in the (tiny) room (described a little more here) and negotiated my way down a set of winding stairs wide enough for one set of shoulders at a time – and even each of those was pressed against the flowered wallpaper on each side – I stepped out into a classic…

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Akaroa

Bruce Elder, a journalist writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, has I think, the best job in the world – reporting on anything obscure, fun, intriguing, captivating or otherwise whatever takes his fancy as he travels around New Zealand. Those following his travels are occasionally invited to suggest places to go or to see, and…

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Nessun Dorma

What on earth is the Nessun Dorma? We all associate it with the 1990 World Cup when Pavarotti sang it. But with Paul Potts singing it last week to get our attention I wondered what the story behind it really was. There you go, my Opera roots revealed to be as shallow as those of…

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Paul Potts Wins

It has been a meteoric rise for Paul Potts, the Welsh cell phone salesman with the dodgy teeth. Last night he won the talent contest (Britains Got Talent) in which he caught everyone’s imagination (and emotion) when he sang Nessun Dorma. Video clip here. There has been a lot of churlish stuff out there about…

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Winter Storm (10)

Previous ChapterIn 2005 David Paton, good friend, mentor, example, and inspiration died after experiencing an aggressive cancer. I flew to New Zealand to attend his funeral. On the flight back I started writing some notes that were intended to capture something of what David meant to me. Taking a deep breath I thought I would…

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