“Ourness” Cultural sociologists devote considerable attention to “otherness” – the sense of being alien, different or excluded from the norm. “Country” and “countryside” both descend linguistically from the Latin equivalent of otherness. There is much less attention given to the sense of “ourness” which relates individuals to populations and places. What follows here are personal […]

Ten Thoughts on Tourism

(This was written in 2005 after a post-retirement round-the-world tour. It was published on the Social Affairs Unit website and I am dragging it out of the archive a) because I still believe what it says and b) because it was the high end of the spectrum in terms of favourable comments.) I have just […]

Isola di Paradossi

The highlight of a month’s wandering round Europe this autumn was hearing Leo Nucci sing Rigoletto in the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. The duet with Gilda was so good it stopped the show: shouts of “Bravo” and also of a lot of comments which I didn’t catch. The whole scene was played again. I thought […]

The A-team Go Over the Wall

You do it once, you’ve done it once. You do it twice, you’ve got a tradition on your hands; things may be added to the tradition, but must not be subtracted. After last year’s excellent expedition to North West England with four granddaughters there had to be a sequel. And there was no doubt in […]

At Last the Rising Sun

It took me to the age of seventy one to get to Japan. There had been projects and possibilities to go along the way, but all had fallen through and my major contacts with Japan had been translations of my work into Japanese and, much more interestingly, teaching dozens of Japanese students. So what was […]

The Grand Tour and the European Union

       We just did the Grand Tour. Again! All the way from Royal Leamington Spa to the Ionian Sea and back, a little under four thousand miles. Whereas our ancestors (well, probably not literally our ancestors) took three years over the job we did it in a little over three weeks. And whereas they did […]

Chalet Memories

 – the best thing about the chalet for me was as a 19-year old undergraduate (the first time) I met Old Members who were priests, barristers, civil servants, etc in very informal circumstances and learned a lot about the world that I wouldn’t otherwise have learned. I note that most of the photos you have […]

Going Soft on Communism in the Sun

        When a late change of destination had us heading for Cuba one of my daughters-in-law set up a spoof “Free Lincoln” campaign on social media in recognition of my robustly anti-Communist views. She needn’t have feared: Cuba seems entirely relaxed about the views of its tourists. It has to be since it needs […]

In Praise of the Homeland

       Two households: one moving home, the other fancying a couple of shows in London. Therefore we had four granddaughters in the house. Why not go away? – the car has seven seats, after all. So we set off for Garstang (where else?). But first we went to Blackpool. The tide was out, lashing against […]

In the Lost Land of Middlesex

County of Middlesex: note that this essay does not concern itself with the county of that name in Connecticut, nor with those in Massachusetts, Virginia or Ontario. It is about Middlesex in England. Middlesex: “Land of the Middle Saxons”. Even at its largest extent, before 1888, Middlesex was the second smallest county in England. Only […]

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