Thoughts in Flanders Fields

       The Flemish town of Ieper (Ypres in French and “Wipers” to a generation of anglophone troops) is finally doing very well out of the war. There is hardly a hotel bedroom or restaurant table to be had and the museum, “In Flanders Fields”, in the Cloth Hall is frequently congested. The forty five kilometer […]

The Sausage and I

       The Old Town in Bratislava could serve well as the set for one of those Eastern European towns in a Hammer film. Narrow streets nestle under the castle. In reality, they are full of tourists; in the films they tended to fill up with men with big moustaches and even bigger sticks and dogs […]

Jungle Thoughts

       The jungle is utterly convincing in its role as jungle: hot, damp, dense, sweaty. Monkeys gibber, something screeches, snakes slither. (The first two are definitely real, the third may be only in my imagination.) The jungle inspires an instinctive fear of the unknown, but it also has a literary reputation. In my youth I […]

Pol Pot Was Right

       We just returned from a first visit to Cambodia. Of course, we visited the temples, but we also read the appropriate stuff, including Edward Short’s excellent biography of Pol Pot ( subtitled The History of a Nightmare and published in 2004) and Loung Ung’s moving account of a childhood destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, […]

1 8 9 10