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Doctor Jack & Calcutta Rescue

Doctor Jack Preger and  Calcutta Rescue remembered.

Doctor Jack Preger has a slightly twisted sense of humour and I hadn’t been in Calcutta long before I was on the receiving end. Driving through the city in what was then a twenty six year old Jeep (and for all I know, Jack’s original four-wheeler is still on the road over two decades later), Jack kept pointing out the signage on Calcutta shop fronts for me to photograph, asking if I’d later send them to his favourite satirical organ, Private Eye: ‘Big Belly Bras’ is one shop sign etched in my memory. Continue reading Doctor Jack & Calcutta Rescue

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Missionaries of Charity Calcutta

Shishu Bhavan and Mother House in Calcutta / Kolkata remembered

Like many others, it was Malcolm Muggeridge’s book about Mother Teresa, Something Beautiful for God, that inspired the first of my two visits to Calcutta, and on the first visit I booked a flight to Delhi because it was a cheaper option than flying direct. Continue reading Missionaries of Charity Calcutta

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Jimmy Connors

I thought tennis was a game for pampered wimps, until the day I saw Jimmy Connors play, on a school trip to a local tennis tournament. With a mile-high chip on his shoulder, and groundstrokes to thump the opposition with, Jimbo left an indelible impression on my cocky, working class sensibilities and pretty much changed the direction of my life. Continue reading Jimmy Connors

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Mary Joe Fernandez

Not long after the first Gulf War, I got to sit down and record an interview with Mary Joe Fernandez, who was about 3 years into a pro career. If I’m being honest, I am not the world’s best interviewer. For starters, I can have a lot to say and I’m not shy when it comes to voicing an opinion. I’m therefore better suited to those willing to swap a few jokes, as well as have a hot discussion: coaxing publicity handouts from pampered egos, which is what most ‘interviews’ have become, is just not me. Continue reading Mary Joe Fernandez

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Yorkshire Travel Guide

Ten of the best things to do and see, in Yorkshire and the Dales. This is just the beginning of a list of worthwhile places to visit in Yorkshire and The Dales … Continue reading Yorkshire Travel Guide

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Lancashire Travel Guide

Ten of the best things to see and do in Lancashire
1: Clitheroe

travel guide clitheroe 1

Best town in Lancashire by a route march. Good cafes, eateries, pubs, a baby castle and generally a great market town atmosphere. Continue reading Lancashire Travel Guide

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Northumberland Travel Guide

Ten of the Best Things to do in Northumberland
1: Sunrise at Holy Island

TRAVEL GUIDE lindisfarne sunrise_2741

Of all the things to do in Northumberland, sunrise at Holy Island is perhaps the most spectacular. But you won’t be guaranteed one like this…  Continue reading Northumberland Travel Guide

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Manchester Travel Guide

http://evvy.co.uk/hacienda-manchester/
Ten of the Best things to see and do in Manchester
1: The Northern Quarter

TRAVEL GUIDE NORTHERN QUARTER art 3044

The sell-out (or buy up) of the Northern Quarter began some time ago, so expect changes as more of it is swallowed up by those who simply must take ownership. Until the people who’ve made it what it is move on, it should remain the best atmosphere in town. Continue reading Manchester Travel Guide

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Chillingham Castle

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Chillingham Castle, Sir Humpty’s most treasured jewel.

Chillingham is quite possibly my favourite place in the North East, though I doubt you and I have seen it in the same light. The majority will see it in it’s hazy summer glory, for this is when holidays are taken and Chillingham gets to recoup some of the cost of its spectacular renovation: the gory tales and tours are family friendly (well, for the Adams Family at least), and Sir Humpty’s collection of gore-abilia will rightly pull in the crowds. Continue reading Chillingham Castle

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Holy Island Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne sunrise
Lindisfarne sunrise

Wonderful sights often require effort on the viewer’s part – sometimes a lot, at other times not so much – and one of the most spectacular sights in Britain is a perfect sunrise over the Holy Island that is Lindisfarne. Continue reading Holy Island Lindisfarne

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Malcolm Muggeridge

Meetings with Malcolm Muggeridge remembered.

In my youth, I turned on the television to find Michael Parkinson interviewing some gnarled old chap I’d never seen before. Another guest shortly appeared, singing the praises of America and how generous the people were to him, a ‘poor Englishman’. With an uncanny likeness to my mental picture of Dickens’ Harold Skimpole, the new arrival to Parky’s show stated (words to the affect) that every time he went to the States, all he had to do was admit to being poor and the locals would come to his rescue and make up the deficit.
He of the gnarled countenance was unmoved and clearly wanted to debate.
‘Have you been to the Bronx recently?’, enquired the old man.
In the absence of a reply, he added that ‘the American Dream is all washed up.’
The old man was Malcolm Muggeridge.
Although I cannot recall what else was said, his words swam against the prevailing tide of materialism and the culture of ‘I’ve got mine’, and his eloquence and honesty planted seeds. Continue reading Malcolm Muggeridge

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Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral
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Durham Cathedral in full photographic glory

This main image of Durham Cathedral in some of its glory is a few years old, and it was languishing in a box of transparencies until I discovered that, owing to major repair work to the weather beaten sandstone, Durham Cathedral is now wearing an ugly chef’s hat around scaffolding, and is off limits for full-on photos for a number of years (click on an image to open image browser). Continue reading Durham Cathedral

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Royal Exchange Theatre

One of my favourite places is the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, though not entirely for the theatricals.

I find it at its best in the mornings, especially when the music has been muted so as not to interrupt rehearsals. The silence is somehow embellished by distant voices ricocheting around the theatre round, and the echoing urgency of lines being learned fortifies the stone calm of the building proper, contributing to an atmosphere of insistent quiet that I doubt you’ll find anywhere else. Continue reading Royal Exchange Theatre

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Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter
The Northern Quarter

The Northern Quarter has always been there…it just ddn’t go by the name ‘Northern Quarter‘ until it was thus branded in the early 1990s.
Started its rise to fashion-nobility with Afflecks Palace, circa 1981, and Factory-owned Dry Bar aided Manchester’s shift in focus over to Oldham Street. Continue reading Northern Quarter