We were literally going around in circles on the Brussels ring road, failing abysmally in our attempt to find the correct exit towards Luxembourg. In frustration, we left the ring road hoping to find a ‘local’ and ask directions.
We pulled into a petrol station and asked the attendant, ‘Pour aller au Luxembourg?’ Despite a working knowledge of French, we could not understand anything he said. And so, with increasing desperation, we drove on. (more…)
‘I, the albatross that waits for you at the end of the world…’
Thus begins the poem which is etched into the memorial plaque at Cape Horn. It continues, ‘I, the forgotten soul of the sailors lost that crossed Cape Horn from all the seas of the world’.
Poet Sara Vial’s words resonate in this hugely emotive place, Cape Horn, the ‘end of the world’, where over the centuries countless sailors lost their lives in the hazardous waters. For many of them, their ‘journey of a lifetime’ resulted in death. It is not surprising — the strong winds, large waves, strong currents — not to mention icebergs– have made Cape Horn notorious for being a sailors’ graveyard. It is a place that I have yearned to visit all my life… the irresistible Sirens’ Song calling me to ‘the end of the world’. After months of planning, I am on my way at last, having joined a cruise ship at the port of Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, at the tip of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to follow in the wake of Charles Darwin and sail through the Beagle Channel towards Cape Horn. (more…)
I walked to the gate for my flight from Miami to London, holding the hand of my two-and-a-half year old daughter. It was late winter of 1984 and I’d been visiting my parents who’d retired and moved from New York to Miami Beach. My three-week-long welcome escape from the English chill and damp was over and it was time to fly back to my husband and home in West Sussex. (more…)
Like many Americans, I’m a sucker for an English accent. If I still lived in the U.S., I’m sure I’d have joined the ranks of America’s millions of ‘Downton Abbey’ fans, just to listen to the actors speak. (more…)
‘Liphook,’ I told my sister in Indiana. ‘We’ve just moved to Liphook.’
‘Lip…what?’ came the disbelieving voice from 4,000 miles away.
‘Liphook,’ I repeated.
‘What a weird name!’ (more…)