New section on the site - so not much here yet.
Each includes the full text as a pop-up window.
Stone Sober in Salobreña
Salobreña, Spain - September 2010.
This describes Janet's and my first day on our holiday in Salobreña. We were going to walk along the coastal paths into the town. The black line on the map (right) shows our route.
Achieving this had a surprise for us when the surfaced lanes changed to the path shown in the picture next to the opening paragraphs below.
- Runner up in Guardian Travel Writing Competition. A 500 word version of the Journal piece was runner up in the competition. It was published in the Saturday Guardian Travel section, and on the Guardian website.
Following our buffet breakfast, Janet and I embarked on our walk from the hotel to Salobreña. The small town, with its low white houses nestling round the Moorish castle that surmounted the eruption of cliff from the fertile valley, was three and a half kilometres as the white-rumped swift would fly on migration. Our path along the slopes and rocky edge of the Mediterranean, with its inlets and promontories, rises and falls, would be the immeasurable length of a butterfly's flight.
I had done my research before departing England on the knee-pinning no-frills aircraft to Malaga. A colour-print satellite map of that stretch of coast was in my knapsack. Janet had done local research before leaving the hotel dining room, by checking with the Saga Holidays Representative where the hotel's courtesy bus picked up in Salobreña. Doing this had neatly circumvented the Welcome Meeting on this our first day, with its haranguing pitch for the non-included tours. As to walkers taking a bus back - we were on an all-inclusive holiday and lunch was only three hours away.
Tunisia 2009 - A Dossier
Tunis, Tunisia - December 2009
The atmosphere of Tunis, from Immigration Control to an unexpected encounter in a hookah emporium, is related. In this prose piece, there is a little speculative writing.
The picture shows Janet in a temporarily unoccupied sentry box next to the museum - not the sentry box mentioned in the opening paragraphs below.
The juxtaposition of sentry box, undeveloped beach and modern hotel gave me the urge to create this year's holiday album in vivo, so to speak. To retain cause with effect. I've been snapping with my digital camera for years, but this time had brought my new hand-held electronic note-taker. Hitherto, the pictures had been captioned weeks after the holiday, when the mood was forgotten. The note-taker was the ideal way to record emotion with image. I planned to make my daily notes in the indolent time after my and Janet's afternoon sex.
The sentry box, just after our fraught dealings with the bureaucratic hotel reception, symbolised my impression of this African démocratie nouvelle. It was a country whose population were either administrative pen-pushers or army privates. Armed guards were everywhere: next to the transfer bus from the aircraft; massed in the immigration hall; monitoring every roundabout leading to our hotel.
Writer's Block in Marrakech
Marrakech, Morocco - October 2008
More of a lament in prose about what happened, or did not happen, after the week in Marrakech. To read about the holiday, read about the performance verse Oudaya Days, or pop-up full text of the poem.
I like to believe I am a brave person. Not the kind of false bravery attributed to the foolhardy hero, taking on overwhelming odds. I refer to the stoic kind, courage in the face of hardship.
You also like to believe you are an honest person. Not the kind of false honesty that allows you to believe you are brave, taking on ailments and pain. The mildest perturbation to your health accelerates you towards a wailing wreck; a pain in the arse to all around.
The pain in the arse started eight days after my return from Marrakech. Who can say if my constipation was a consequence of Morocco, the double shift of diet, a psychosomatic response to travel, or coincidence. By the time I recognised the symptoms, I didn't give a shit about what caused it. And that's the last scatological pun that's in this passage.
Three days of blocked, hardening stools affects the whole person.
It does for you. Your body becomes sluggish, movements lethargic, as you degenerate into a self-absorbed bleating wreck.