A Tale of the Paranormal

Here's a ghostwritten spooky story that my Dad recounted on many family occasions when the family gathered around the fireplace during my childhood when memories of his wartime years on Tristan da Cuhna were fresh in his mind. These events took place seventy-five years ago. You might think that the explanation for what occurred is  telepathy, second sight, intuition, or simply the vivid imaginings of a young woman. However we try to rationalize it, there seems to me to be no logical explanation and the story still sends shivers down my spine.

February 1943  Royal Navy U Boat Monitoring Station, Code Name Job 9

A few weeks ago one of the younger women started to complain to Doctor Woolley that someone was following her home in the evening after she finished her cleaning job in the married quarters of our small Naval station. The Doc questioned all of the personnel on the station and nobody owned up. Apparently, it's unthinkable that one of the islanders would be stalking her but …

Pancake Day in England, Mardi gras in New Orleans, aka Shrove Tuesday

Why, when other parts of the world were throwing wild parties and mounting lavish parades on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi gras) do English people race along the roads of towns and villages throughout the land wielding frying pans from which they occasionally toss a pancake? Answer: to an Englishman or woman, Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day!  Yay!  One of the few days, in many cases the only day, in the year when an Englishman will tuck into this cross between a batter pudding and a Frisbee.  Pancake Day races are one of those strange customs that stretch back into the annals of British History. I’m about to tell you the story but first you need to know (assuming that you don’t already know) why on Shrove Tuesday pancakes are whipped up from a combination of eggs, flour, and butter.
Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the forty days of Lent. Lent marks the period when, according to the New Testament, Jesus went into the wilderness to fast and contemplate his fate.  Dur…

Past, Present and Future

Have you ever given thought to the age that you would like to achieve? Believe me, folks, when you are about to hit the seventy-year milestone it might start to creep into your thought processes - as it has into mine. I have a target of around eighty-six in mind - possibly beyond that if I'm relatively sound in body and mind. The news is that I have a 15.13% chance of suffering cardiovascular disease in the next ten years. That's official. Computed by the QRISK2 algorithm after the doc received the results of my annual medical tests. I don't know what to think. Is that good, or is it bad? What I do know is that I can reduce that risk, which is associated with high blood pressure and excess weight, by diet, exercise, and relaxation techniques. Well, we all know that we ought to be doing.

In the run-up to my medical, I had been following a low blood sugar diet for a couple of weeks. The diet is aimed at reducing the risk of diabetes but a side benefit is that, because it'…

The White Horse in Wiltshire

Good morning! I've been in Wiltshire this weekend. During a brief respite from atrocious weather my brother-in-law and I made the steep ascent (by car, I hasten to add!) to the White Horse, which is a mile or so from his home. Very blustery up there and I had to make an undignified scramble over a stile to reach the Iron-Age earthworks but it was so worth it for the spectacular views.

King Alfred defeated the Great Heathen Army of the invading Danes on this site between the 6th and the 12th May AD 878. The White Horse was carved out of the chalk hillside many centuries later, to commemorate the Battle of Ethandun (Old English name for the village of Edington, where my family lives).

Had planned to move on the Dorset coast for a few days but the weather, with storms coming in from the West, has been very unpredictable (it's said that we may be getting the effects of the tail-end of Hurricane Irma later this week). So after getting soaked to the skin on Sunday at Cliveden, on t…

Why Drink Decaf?

What, you may ask, is the point of denuded, decaffeinated coffee? Well, there isn't one. If you don't mind the prospect of a future of addiction, shot nerves, insomnia, high blood pressure and headaches. Ever wondered why some European nations are so excitable? It's the ritual of the early morning espresso, so thick that it may be possible to stand a spoon in it, and so strong that it has to be washed down with a glass of water by the unaccustomed and unwary. OK, I exaggerate. But I do have difficult-to-control high blood pressure; and caffeine doesn't do anything to abate my insomnia. So I have been drinking  decaf for a long time - possibly longer than you have been alive.

Read all of my in-depth articles, recipes, travel and life writing here

All My Travel Articles in One Place