Back in the summer of 1939, my grandmother graduated from teacher training college, fully intending to travel the world before she settled into her teaching career. On 3 September of the same year, Britain declared war on Germany and she was sent to Blackpool to supervise evacuees. She never did fulfil her dreams of travelling, only venturing outside of Europe once – in her old age – to visit family in Canada. I have in my possession her atlas, which she acquired as a young woman in 1937, probably as a gift. I can imagine her poring over it, wondering,…

View Post

As December approaches, I become insufferably gleeful. It may be dark and cold and miserable outside, but there’s a full month of mini celebrations to be enjoyed. Each door that pops open on the advent calendar, each party, each annual ritual dutifully upheld is just as warming to the soul as a hot mince pie and mulled cider to the stomach. While I always migrate to the north of England in true homing-pigeon fashion when the big day nears, it’s also a wonderful time of year to go and explore the rest of the world and see how it celebrates…

View Post