Edinburgh 2023


Tuesday 15 August
By Lumo to Edinburgh
On a seat with no view!
Spotted Flying Scotsman outside the NRM York
Pint at Cloisters

Wednesday 16 August
Andre and Dorine
Assembly Rooms, George Street
A mime/ puppet show about dementia
Amazingly there were only three actors (lots of papier-mache heads!)

Sam Campbell, Bulletproof Ten
Pleasance Grand
A one-night only 10-minute show (13 minutes actually) for £2

Junk for small plates street food dinner

Wemyss Bay to Rothesay ferry

Thursday 17 August
Day trip to Rothesay, Isle of Bute via Wemyss Bay and Glasgow Central,
train and ferry where they were filming a BBC show Dinosaurs

Wemyss Bay station

Friday 18 August 
When the apple ripens, Peter Howson at 65 City Art Centre. Grim
Simon Munnery, Stay Safe Stand 1

Pakora Bar for dinner

BBC Fresh from the Fringe, Dynamic Earth
Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Tadiwa Mahlunge, Dan Tiernan, Adam Rowe, Lorna Rose Treen and Lindsey Santoro. The guy with the beard was funniest IMO

Saturday 19 August 
Modern art galleries on 13 bus and Charley lunch
Alberta Whittle creating dangerously at Modern 1
Decades: the art of change 1900-1980 at Modern 2

Church Hill Theatre
Physical theatre about climate change with amazing weather effects

Sunday 20 August 
Daniel Kitson, First Thing (Work in progress), Roundabout at Summerhall
Up at the crack of dawn to see Daniel Kitson at Summerhall in First thing ( work in progress) in the round in the Roundabout. Everyone got a script with lines highlighted, mine was script 67 and the line was 'cock rings and candy floss? ' I normally hate audience participation but we didn't have to leave our seats so it was ok. He deconstructed the thing as he went along. It's not a play he said - or stand-up -but the audience (reading from a script he wrote) disagreed!

Home for the England football final

Fishmarket, Newhaven

Tram to Fishmarket restaurant, Newhaven,

Robin Ince, Melons
Stand New Town Theatre, George Street
Punching a melon!

Monday 21 August
Mervyn Stutter's 30th year gala, Pleasance Grand
Ed Byrne, Jo Caulfield, mentalist Colin Cloud, A comedy of operas, Spirit of Ireland, Yes-Ya-Yebo, Show Stopper, Havana Street Party
Meet Jayne and Lauren, Pleasance bar
Chaakoo (Indian) for dinner.

Tuesday 22 August 
Rob Auton The Rob Auton show
Gentle autobiographical stand up/spoken word. He even mentions his cock ring! Now where have I heard that before?
Assembly Roxy

Talbot Rice Gallery I hate pitch-black rooms!

Sora Lella Vegan Italian for dinner.…

Wednesday 23 August
Home on the Lumo and yet another joke seat!

More on James Miller

More photos on Flickr 

Edinburgh 2023


Edinburgh 2022

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Me and trains are going through a bit of a bad patch of late! After getting to Kings X in time to have a half at the Parcel Yard I boarded the (wrong) train to Edinburgh. At Stevenage, the train stopped cos the train in front had damaged the overhead cables. We were there six hours! The people in the train in front had to evacuate the train, walking along the track with luggage to Hitchin or Bigglestwade. 

We eventually got the go ahead to proceed North. The food and drink ran out and to top it all when we got to Newcastle we were told this train was terminated. Thankfully another albeit fullish train picked us up. By this time it was well after midnight - seven hours delayed and the queue (or lack of a discernible queue) at the taxi rank was another story! Still, we're here now and Simon Munnery here we com!

Wednesday 17 August

Simon Munnery, Trials and Tribulations, Stand 1

Mathers bar: beer

Meal at Taistel


Edinburgh 2022

Thursday 18 August

Talbot Rice Gallery: Céline Condorelli: After Work

Henry Naylor : Afghanistan is not funny, Gilded Balloon

Sophie Duker: Hag, Pleasance,

Friday 19 August

Edinburgh Printmakers

Fontainbridge Fox: beer

Meal at Maki Ramen : vegan ramen with too many noodles

Summerhall Rum Cruise, Union  Canal

Edinburgh 2022

Saturday 20 August

Why is it so difficult to get to the modern art galleries? Two art buses were hiding behind Modern Art gallery 2, but no one to drive them. The website says get the 13 bus, but does it even exist? Missed it anyway so it's a taxi there and the mythical hourly 13 on way back.

Edinburgh 2022

Modern Art 2: Barbara Hepworth: Art and Life

Modern Art 1: New Arrivals: from Salvador Dali to Jenny Saville

Edinburgh 2022

Meal at Ondine: fabulous scallops


Edinburgh 2022

Wee Red Bar (Art School/Book festival): Paul Higgins: This is Memorial Device

Sunday 21 August

City Art Centre: National Treasure: the Scottish Modern Arts Association (lovely art nouveau paintings, but photography forbidden)

Edinburgh 2022


Summerhall, met Charlie

Apiary Restaurant: (smaller) scallops for starters and main


Lyseum studio for Tim Crouch: Truth's A Dog Must to Kennel

Monday 22 August

Joanna Neary: Wasp in a cardigan, at Stand 2

Street Food Mushroom Pie at Underbelly
Bumped into George Egg and Paul Zenon

Olaf Falafel: STOAT

we saw him flyering outside free fringe venue - 2 jokes in Top Ten

Walk across Meadows

New Henderson's haggis and roots


Edinburgh 2022

Tuesday 23 August

Email from LNER to say 11am train cancelled, so got to Waverley early and jumped on the 10am, Coach C, stopped at Retford due to safety checks on dip in line, but got going after half an hour! Phew!

More photos on Flickr

Edinburgh (and Dundee) 2019


Danube River Cruise 2022

Amadeus Cara on the Danube, Vienna 


The Misadventures of an Old Duffer Abroad

Amadeus Fleet MS Cara
9-16 July 2022


Much as I enjoy Jane McDonald (and lately Susan Calman) travelling the world on giant cruise ships, no way would you get me on one, it's my idea of hell. But how about a river cruise, visiting cities I'd never been to but wanted to? Before lockdown for example I was planning a trip to take advantage of free travel for pensioners in Hungary. Then, I saw that Oysterband were planning such a journey down the Danube to Budapest, and so, after paying a deposit to Harmony Voyages, I sought the advice of The Man in Seat 61 to plan the rail journeys there and back.

Now, I don't like getting up early, so it was the 15.04 Eurostar to Brussels, a night at the Ibis Gare Midi, then on to Passau - the start of the cruise - via Frankfurt Airport ( this duffer managed to get off a stop too early - at Plattling - but it allowed me to have a pint of dunkel and a pretzel waiting for a local train.) I'd booked a night in the Art Hotel because I thought it was near the station. Wrong! It was quite a walk, and as a conversion of an old house, there were many creaky wooden steps to ascend! Luckily a couple had arrived same time as me and gave me a hand. The 'private bathroom' was a disappointment too, being at the end of a long corridor.

Organ at Dom St Stephan, Passau

A highlight of Passau is the second biggest organ in the world, at the Dom St Stephan, and there is a recital at noon each day. Wonderful! So, after that experience, it was onto the boat and I must say for the following seven days everything about it was pure luxury (except no BBC on the TV). We had cocktails with the captain and the first of the sit-down four-course meals, and the Austrian red wine kept coming. We were however meant to travel up to Regensburg, but there was not enough water in the river.

The sun deck of Amadeus Cara

Now, no matter how well you pack you always forget something. This time it was the USB to tiny USB cable used to charge my battery pack. Luckily the sound guy on the boat charged it up for me. Two other annoyances were dodgy GPS roaming on my phone which meant I couldn't play Pokemon Go or use maps to find out where I was, and the pin on my Halifax Clarity card was not being accepted. Santander card did come to the rescue but watch out for transaction fees!

On Day 3 of the cruise (11 Juy) we called at Linz and took a ride on the steepest friction tram outside of Portugal (and maybe San Francisco). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%B6stlingbergbahn

The Pöstingbergbahn Linz

Days 4 and 5 we docked at Vienna. But it was a long walk to the tram stop on the D line - apparently Viking Cruises had nabbed the closer berths! My plan was to navigate the Ringstrasse by tram, which I did most of, I think! 

Day 6 (14 July) Bratislava. I thought I'd take a tour of the city on a Dotto train or army truck, but had half an hour to wait so jumped on a tram - and got lost! No, I didn't go up the 'flying saucer'. 

Flying Saucer, Bratislava

What I found out about the  tram network is that if you miss your stop and jump off next stop to get a tram going back the other way, it won't necessarily follow the same route! Thankfully a young couple put me on the right track after a detour down some tunnels under the castle! Earlier a young lad who spoke English helped me navigate the ticket machine. Thea Gilmore and her talented son tonight. 

Freedom bridge, Budapest


Day 8 (Saturday 16 July) after breakfast we were set adrift in Budapest and a taxi to my T62 hotel opposite the Eiffel designed Nyugati Station.

Gyermekvasút ( Children's Railway) Budapest

The plan was to ride the Children' Railway - to get there: Tram No 61 at Szell Kalman ter to Varosmajor stop then change to the Cog Railway (Service No 60) and ride it to the end. It was very popular with cyclists with a whole carriage dedicated to mountain bikes. So, it was up a path and into the booking office for a ticket, but... they didn't take cards and they didn't take euros! I had no Hungarian money, so that was that - it was diesel anyway. So a pint and catfish soup at a local bar and it was back down the cog railway.

Cog-wheel railway, Budapest

That evening, searching out Ruin Bar Szimpla Kert, I came across an Apple shop so asked a young Genius how come I wasn't receiving internet on my phone? A few clicks later it was all working. Asking how he did it, he shrugged and said it was something to do with the carrier. I was no wiser but at least maps were working, for now! A ruin bar BTW is a cross between  a 1980s warehouse party and a farmers market. A bit too busy for me!

Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar Budapest

BTW, none of the staff at the Apple shop had heard of ruin bars! So it was on a busy tram back to the hotel, only it wasn't -  it turned a few corners, stopped and chucked everyone off to make way for a huge demo to walk past! Lost again, so I walked until I recognised a landmark, the Opera House and the Basilica, I'd been heading completely wrong direction! Fortified by a beer at Captain Cook's pub, I tramped back to the T62 and a whiskey.

Hungarian Railway Museum Magyar Vasúttörténeti Park Budapest

Hungarian Railway Museum Magyar Vasúttörténeti Park 

Had a ride on a miniature railway and a quick pint in the restaurant and I was shown to the secret station and a quick route back to Nyugati Station.

Day 12 Monday 18 July
Budapest to Prague (with replacement bus!)
Budapest Nyugati 09.40 to 37/36
Prague Hlavni 16.42
Hotel EXE City Park Prague

Day 13 (Tuesday 19 July) 
Prague to Brussels 
DB had been sending me emails that there could be possible delays on this service and lo and behold on the Czech/German border we all had our passports checked by the German Border police. Then further along the line, instead of proceeding to Regensburg the train turned back, we were thrown off and had to await a local to take us there.

At Frankfurt Airport however the train to Brussels had a big X by it on the departure board. The DB man said no more trains tonight but, if I got myself to Cologne I was entitled to  a free hotel room - which I didn't want cos I'd already paid for a hotel room at the Ibis in Brussels!. At Cologne there were two DB staff trying to deal with an angry mob of irate passengers. I was told to wait with a Swiss family and eventually we were led off to a taxi which took us all the way to our hotels. It was midnight when I got there, but I got a Chimay from the bar and so to bed. The lad with the family had been watching the clock, which ended up €400.

Day 14 Wednesday 20 July
Brussels 12.56 to London 14.00
St Pancras - home
What a day! My watch strap broke at Brussels Midi (rescued the watch) , my suitcase lost a handle screw (luckily I had cable ties) at St Pancras, so when I got to Brighton I thought hurrah I was home... err not quite! Because of the woman’s footy at Falmer, the trains had extra carriages so although my one stopped at London Road, I couldn’t get off, so... I went on to Lewes and up the slope and down the lift  thence a stopping train to the afore mentioned LR, helped off the train by a couple of our finest riot policemen, and down the hill . A cunning way to avoid the dreaded LR steps maybe? House still here thanks to Susan Sainsbury for keeping an eye out. A can of porter from the fridge, and telly to catch up on... life is good.., come on England (spoiler alert! they won)!

The Danube, near Vienna

The Blue Danube! More photos on Flickr 

Danube River Cruise


The forgotten Guildford Festivals

Small leaflet

College chum and friend of the arts lab, Robin Bradbeer, reminded me that 50 years ago the third Guildford Arts Festival was on, with me as Festival Director! Googling around, it struck me that there was next to nothing on the three major festivals that preceded the low-key Surrey Free Festivals on campus (starting in 1970). The first in the series was in March 1969, directed by Rick Welton (who I was in Helix with). Somewhere in my house I have the brochure for it, but can't just lay my hands on it! Battersea College of Advanced Technology had become the University of Surrey and moved down to Guildford (as I also did that year) and the festival, bankrolled by the Students Union was a gift. if you like, to the town, cementing a link between Town and Gown.

I can't remember much of that festival, but a memorable moment came on 11 March 1969. At 10.30 every night the members' bar at the Yvonne Arnaud theatre became the Festival Club with intimate theatre, acoustic music and revues. This night we saw David Bowie play at the club with guitarist Hutch, as 2/3 of Feathers. There has been lots of online discussion about this gig (as there has been with Led Zeppelin's first gig), but I was there, along with about 20 other people, to hear Space Oddity on Stylophone and see some mime!

The second Festival took place in March 1970 - I can't remember the name of the Director. I applied for the job but was turned down. The Guildford Arts Lab always had a presence at these festivals and on 4 March 1970 we had The assassination of William Blake as performed by the inmates of Guildford Arts Lab under the direction of the Marquis de Pipes!! starring Mike Horovitz, Brian Patten, Graham Clarke, Clive Young, Gus Garside, Robin Shirley, John White, Dave Ambrose, Nick Gray and Cyberdescence light show. Wowie Zowie! what a line up.

  Guildford festival Two 1970 

I designed a natty poster for it, along with Dave Ambrose's Palimpsest of Erly Engle-Land on the 3rd, with Dr Strangely Strange, and Combination Plus with Fran Horovitz and Roger McGough on the 1st. There was also an all-night Pyjama party with Chris Farlowe, back at Battersea on the 10th.

As precursor of Festival 2 there was an event called Meetings and partings with Davy Graham and Shirley Collins, in February.

On 27/ 28 June 1970,  the first Surrey Free Festival took place, as a reaction maybe to the money spent and lost on the three big festivals. Featured 'local group' Genesis, Bridget St John and Poppa Ben Hook.

So in 1971, I applied for the job again and got it! - 8 months work for £800. I booked the pop and folk acts, mostly via Lynne Boot (Adrian Boot's partner) at Blackhill Enterprises, but my main job was to design the brochure (all done with Letraset and Cow Gum) and posters (which were all screen printed by Henry Dudley in his basement). 

  Roy Harper at the Civic Hall 

 You can see who was in it from the brochure scans: from The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to the Brighton Combination, via Kevin Ayers, Mike Westbrook and Roy Harper. 

John Fahey was booked through promoter Stuart Lyon but the tour never happened. It was a big programme with lots on every night from Friday 5 March (the Eve of Festival ball, for which I had to hire a DJ!) to Sunday 14 March and the wonderful eight hour Copan Backing Track from Mike Westbrook, with a projected clock by Cyberdescence. Wish I could have seen more of it! Afterwards I applied for various arts jobs with no luck, so it was back to commuting up to London for a job in publishing.


Pipesy on the wireless

About a month ago I was invited by Susi Oddball of Brighton & Hove Community Radio to take part in Your Voice Matters, a sort of Desert Island Discs. So armed with six of my favourite CDs I arrived at their tiny studio in the Brighthelm Centre - a bit late cos my bike had a puncture - to record what turned out to be an hour and a half's natter about my life. It's finally been uploaded to Mixcloud and can be found here:



1. Del Shannon 'Runaway' 1961
2. The Graham Bond ORGANisation 'Wade in the water' (from The Sound of 65) 1965

3. The Michael Nyman Band 'Chasing sheep is best left to shepherds (from The Draughtsman's contract) 1982
4. David Devant and his Spirit Wife 'Miscellaneous' (from Work, Lovelife, Miscellaneous) 1997

5. John Shuttleworth 'Y Reg' ( from The Yamaha Years) 1997

6. The Rutles 'Shangri-La' (from Archaeology) 1996

Meanwhile, my solitary life has become even more solitary thanks to coronavirus COVID-19. Civilisation is in 'Lockdown' for now  - add for me a touch of the vertigo - making life very boring indeed. Events have been cancelled, the shelves of supermarkets are empty. Happy 73rd birthday to me!


Edinburgh (and Dundee) 2019

Dundee 2019

Again, just an itinerary!

Tuesday 13th August
To Edinburgh on delayed slow LNER train
Spotted 45699 Galatea outside NRM, York

A note about bus tickets: the English bus pass is no good in Scotland, so its either a single (currently £1.70) or a Day Saver (£4) from the driver, exact change, no change given, but now you can use your contactless card, and it automatically caps at the day saver price... it almost feels as it the journey is free!

Fringe tickets: you can now book online and pick the tickets up at certain sites - just swipe your card and the tickets pop out... no queuing, no pin to key in. Magic!

Edinburgh 2019

Wednesday 14th August
On the Gallery bus (suggested donation £1) to check out the wonderful collage exhibition, Cut and Paste: 400 years of collage, at Modern  2, and lunch (baked potato with aubergine filling) plus NOW at Modern 1.

Edinburgh 2019

To National Portrait Gallery for Artists Rooms, Self Evidence: Photographs by Woodman, Arbus and Mapplethorpe
Paul Zenon: Trust Me!  17.30 Le Monde, George Street
Stewart Lee: Wok in progress 19:10 Stand New Town Theatre

Edinburgh 2019

Thursday 15th August
More Art: Stills for Cindy Sherman: Early works 1975-80
Nothing on at the Fruitmarket, didn't fancy the City Art Gallery
Bridget Riley at the Royal Scottish Academy, and David Mach colleges downstairs
Summer Sessions James at Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh 2019

Friday 16th August
It's seeing someone new day!
Walk to George Square for Best of the Fest Daytime: enjoyed Lost Voice Guy and Jonny and the Baptists, not so much the others
Talbot Rice for Samson Young: Real Music
Kieren Hodgson: Maestro at Pleasance Beyond - what a find, would have liked to have seen his Lance Armstrong show too
Spotted Paul Ritter in the Pleasance courtyard

Edinburgh 2019

Saturday 17th August
Walk to Summerhall for some art and Extinction Rebellion, spotted Paul Ritter again
Rhod Gilbert: The book of John 20:30 at Pentland Theatre, EICC

Edinburgh 2019

Sunday 18th August
New Printmakers venue, featuring Hannah Tuulikki: Deer Dancer
Simon Munnery: Alan Parker Urban Warrior Farewell Tour 15:20,
Daniel Kitson: Everything smells of orange 5pm, both in Stand 1.
Butterflies 20.05 Zoo Playground 1, starring Milly Roberts

Dundee 2019

Monday 19th August
Dundee day trip by train: to The McManus Art Gallery and Museum via Desperate Dan and the new V & A Dundee 
Dinner out at Wedgwood on the Royal Mile

Tuesday 20th August
Homeward bound. Spotted 45596 Bahamas and 60103 Flying Scotsman outside the NRM York.

Last year's Edinburgh visit.

More photos on Flickr.


Going Dutch 2018

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 1: Tuesday 23 October 2018
An ad in Bluebell News had caught my eye - a trip to Bluebell Railway's twin, the Museumstoomtram at Hoorn on the Zuiderzee in Holland, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. When I received the itinerary however, I saw it included two of my pet hates: getting up early, and travelling by train on a Sunday! Ah well, its only once a year, so on Tuesday 23 October it was up at 4am, and an Uber to the station for the 5.47 to St Pancras, where I bought a sandwich at M&S (not needed!) and joined the Going Dutch party in the Eurostar departure lounge. We'd been booked Standard Premier (First class?), so breakfast - and a beer - was included... the first of many meals.

Going Dutch October 2018

It was the direct train to Amsterdam, but we got off in Rotterdam to visit Mini World, a giant model railway and docks, with a GB exhibit under construction. It works on the principle of 1 minute = 1 hour, so every now and again it goes dark and the buildings light up. Then was back to the station for a first class train to Amersfoort, where we were staying for three nights in the rh Hotel, where we had dinner.

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 2: Wednesday 24 October 2018 - First steam trip
We travelled by train to Apeldoorn to join the Veluwsche Stoom Trein, pulled by a giant German loco, 23 076. We had the Wagon Lits to ourselves and were greeted with a huge slab of apple cake for elevenses. This was followed shortly by lunch: soup, mushroom vol-au-vent, cheese rolls and fruit cake! On the way back we stopped at Beekbergen where the loco took on coal and water, and we got to see lots of German locos.

Going Dutch October 2018

Back at Amersfoort we had a snail's-pace walking tour of the older parts of the town, including De Drei Ringen brewery where we enjoyed some of their Dubbel and the obligatory cheese. Then it was to Restaurant Dara, for a middle-eastern 'tapas' (mezze?) comprising an enormous number of dishes that kept on coming. The walk back took us past the medieval bridge all lit up.

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 3: Thursday 25 October 2018 - Utrecht
Another early start and it's the train to Utrecht Railway Museum. After tea and biscuits in the old station we were let loose in the museum, which is more like a theme park, with a dark ghost train, a rollercoaster runaway train 'flight simulator' and a trip 'down a coal mine' in a rickety wooden lift. Lots else to see, including many locos built in Manchester. After a lunch of cheese rolls and soup, it was a short walk to the canal and a boat trip on Domstad round the waterways of Utrecht. The final destination was Oudaen Castle with its brewery and restaurant. Then it was back to Amersfoort for our final night there.

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 4: Friday 26 October 2018 - Hoorne and the Zuiderzee
It was first class again to Hoorne via various diversions, and after dumping out bags at the station, boarded a steam tram to Medemblik to catch the MS Friesland for a rainy day cruise to the Open-Air Museum at Enkhuizen. The Museumstoomtram is more like a light railway, with three steam locos in operation (6513, 7742 and 8107) plus a diesel railcar. At a different time of year, they'd be puffing through tulip fields, but this time of year it's cabbage and cauliflowers! The Zuiderzee I discovered is a fresh water lake, not the sea!

Going Dutch October 2018

At the Open-air museum, we checked out the steam laundry and the smithy and had coffee in the bakery. The post office even sold real stamps (€2.10 for a postcard to UK). We didn't have time to see the indoor museum and it was a long walk to Enkhuizen station - there were shuttle boats apparently. Thankfully, the Petite Nord Hotel was not far away and we checked in and began the long walk (for me) to the restaurant Steak and More, by the harbour, which provided me with a tuna steak!

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 5: Saturday 27 October 2018 - day on the steam trams
Technically a free day, this was a whole day on the MSHM, with a packed lunch provided. So it was down to Medemblik where I took a photo of MS Friesland in the sunshine, then caught the railcar for one stop then back on the next train to Medemblik them finally back to Hoorn stopping off at Wognum to take some pictures of the trains. The Dutch like to put on a performance, so little acts of theatre were enacted at the various stations, getting the kids involves carrying parcels etc.

Going Dutch October 2018

My plan was to catch the Hoorn tourist bus (golf cart) to the harbour and the Museum of the 20th century but couldn't find it. So it was back to the hotel and thence to Barrels Pub for a Bock. There was more bock back at the station where we were treated to a slap up dinner of various  stamppot with a couple of veggie sausages for me!

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 6: Sunday 28 October 2018 - Homeward bound via Train World
Lots of changes today: Hoorn > Amsterdam > Rotterdam > Antwerp (the most beautiful station in the world?) > Schaerbeek, where we visited Train World (my second time), to reacquaint with Atlantic streamliner 12.004. and had a lovely farewell meal in their RN Express cafe. Then it was back on the train to Brussels Midi, and on to the Eurostar, economy class this time! At St Pancras, the Thameslink trains were only going as far as Three Bridges, but outside the station it was well organised with queues for various destinations, including an express service to Brighton. I walked home from the station, getting in around midnight and after a day turning back the clocks twice!

Going Dutch October 2018

I must say this was one of the best organised trips I've been on, thanks to Roger Price of the Bluebell. The only money I spent was on the odd beer, postcards and stamps. It was as if I'd given a wad of money (just over a grand) to a butler or concierge and said show me a good time. I did things I'd never do travelling solo, such as going first class, and staying at posh hotels, eating at posh restaurants. It was tiring and intensive, with a little too much walking for me, but I now have lots of happy memories.

More pix on Flickr.