The Bastion

It’s no secret that, for some years, Akakies has been The Pink for me – still or sparkling, my favourite Greek rose wine. But this year, at the urging of the same people who got me hooked on that Kyr-Yiannis staple, I tried La Tour Melas Idylle. Produced in Achinos, between Athens and Thessaloniki, on Kyros Melas’ estate, it’s paler, more elegant and more grown-up than Akakies. It is Bordeaux in style, with a Provençal air about it. On a Greek vacation spent in two towers and the shadows of a bastion, it seemed even more fitting to try this wine and picture it here – on a September evening as dusk fell.

Living History

New life springs from the Roman wall on Balkerne Hill, Colchester. This section of the town's old fortifications is currently undergoing restoration. In its time it has, of course, seen many more aggressive occupants. In the eleven-week Siege of Colchester in 1648, the Parliamentarians damaged the wall in their, ultimately successful, bid to oust the Royalist troops during the English Civil War. It was a period which caused great suffering to the starved, besieged locals. Rumor has it that this was the origin of Humpty Dumpty, the English nursery rhyme: a one-eyed gunner had inflicted many casualties on the Parliamentarians from the tower of St Mary's church, a two-minute walk from where this photograph was taken, before he and the tower were laid low by cannon fire. Whatever his provenance, Humpty Dumpty certainly helps other Colcestrian favourites, Old King Cole, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the Teletubbies in keeping our stories alive.

A Spring Concert


On 1 April 2017, I took a stroll through Hyde Park at dusk with members of my family before attending the Spring Concert of the King’s College London Symphony Orchestra at Holy Trinity Church, South Kensington, London. The musical director was Jonathan Lo, the leader, Rebecca Babbage, the assistant conductor, Igor Maia, and the guest conductor, James Ham. Debbie Barnes was the bassoon soloist. There was a programme with a nautical twist: Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Op.27, followed by Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in B-flat K.191, then Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Op.26 and finally, Debussy’s La Mer.

Thought of Train of Thought

On show in St Pancras International Station, London, until January 2017, is this 18-meter aluminium artwork by Ron Arad. Designed by a man from Tel Aviv, made by Dutch shipbuilders and erected by British riggers, the sculpture floats, suitably internationally, above a border control point. The station now has 48 million visitors per year and […]