Gardening (and reading about gardening)

Moving into my first house last year brought lots of new lessons in home ownership but also in gardening. I had insisted that my next home had to be a house, with a garden, but probably underestimated both the care and reward involved, in that order. On moving in, the small front and back gardens … Continue reading

Mini-returns and unfamiliar ‘homes’

Photograph of Gardens by the Bay

Towards the end of last year I went on a wonderful three-week holiday to Australia. It is one of my favourite places, if it is fair to think of it as one place – in three weeks I saw just a tiny fraction of it on this visit. My parents lived in Melbourne for a … Continue reading

Stolen bicycles and homeliness

My few ‘regular’ readers might have noticed that I have not posted anything on here for a long time (if indeed they have not completely lost interest!). The Autumn of 2013 produced two unexpected challenges to my new found love of cycling, the subject of my previous posts (on commuting and on bike personalities). The … Continue reading

Transport with personality

I have never been big on anthropomorphising things – attributing objects or other animals with human qualities has never had that much appeal to me. My transportation devices, however, seem to be different. My cars gain names, even ones hired on holiday, and usually not names you would want to give to a person (a … Continue reading

Work-life balance and commuting by bike

I have posted before about some sights from my London commute via train and tube (both people and places). Despite these positives takes, I have never been much of a fan of my journey to and from work. I have become a much bigger user of mobile technologies and e-reading to make the time productive … Continue reading

Repatriates and the value of intercultural skills

Keyboard return key

Earlier this month the British Council launched a report about the value of intercultural skills in the workplace. It concludes that, ‘Employers understand the value of intercultural skills to their businesses. In fact, they value these skills above many technical abilities and formal qualifications.’ So, intercultural skills would be good things to have on your … Continue reading

A break in the commute

On my journey to work there is a point where the train line rises above the roofs of the houses and I can see all the way across the city. It is fleeting so I have to avoid falling into my commuter cocoon before I get there so I don’t miss it. Each morning I … Continue reading

Home climates: snowdrops and falling leaves

Tree in autumn

I’ve been reminded by a mild spell and the sight of the sunshine that the weather makes a huge difference to how I live and how I feel about it. I do like to see the change in seasons, although I prefer all other changes to when it gets darker and danker. I lived once … Continue reading

People watching and shoes

Pair of distressed shoes

Standing idly on the train station platform this evening, I decided there was nothing better to look at than the shoes of the people swarming around me. I prefer to think that still says more about the station and my computer-tired eyes than my proclivity for shoes. A train pulling in provided me with an … Continue reading

Shopping malls

China Town plaza

Looking at my globe often makes me think not just of other distant places, or of a well-chosen gift, but of the shopping centre it came from. This was a welcome sanctuary on returning to the UK: a brand new air-conditioned mall with chain stores, a food court and a familiar, inside-outside light filtering onto … Continue reading