Read the link from The Guardian below and then wonder how many lives could have been saved in the Philippines with the $142.4 million that was spent a few minutes ago on Francis Bacon’s portraits of Lucian Freud. …

It makes you want to scream, which is ironic when you consider that Francis Bacon’s portraits of Lucian Freud eclipsed The Scream as the most expensive artwork ever auctioned. 

FIFA 2014 World Cup – Brazil

If you’re going to the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil you must visit Rio de Janeiro – here’s some ideas for hotels …

British Traditions and Travel

Read … about the Eden Valley in England and The Egg Dumping Championship and the World’s Original Marmalade Awards – real British Traditions.

The Eden Valley is found between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales in northern England. –  Twitter Id @WorkerJulian

The strangest place I have ever been.

As I continued to walk down the path, passed the grey statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin on my left hand side, the Soviet marching music was still playing from loudspeakers attached to imitation Gulag watchtowers in the forest by a small stream on my right. Each statue has an English translation of where the statue stood in the Communist era; for example, the lovely Stalin statue stood outside the train station in Vilnius, which must have cheered commuters no end as they shuffled to their work. There are no statues or pictures of Trotsky, and not all the statues are of Stalin, Marx, and Lenin. Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the KGBs forerunner the Cheka, is present looking very sleek and sinister in a long cape. There are statues of Lithuanian heroes such as 20-year old freedom fighter Maryte Melnikaite who was shot by the Nazis in 1943 and of the Four Communards, the underground communist leaders who were shot in 1926 in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second city.  

After a tour of the statues that took about an hour, I went to the canteen, where there was a choice between a lengthy, ‘normal’ menu and a much shorter ‘Nostalgia’ menu, specializing in Soviet style cuisine. I decided to enter the spirit of the park and selected my lunch from one of the three nostalgia dishes on offer. The picture of the “Goodbye Youth” chop indicated to me that there was no actual meat on the chop – that it was just bone with some marrow attached. “Hello Hunger” would have been a better name. I was left with a straight choice between the single sausage draped elegantly over the side of a metal dish or “Sprat Done The Russian Way”. The sprat was garnished with a single ring of raw onion and the ‘Russian Way’ was to have a glass of vodka with the sprat. Just to complete the theme, pictures of Lenin and Stalin adorned the glass. I had the sausage. It was delicious, but was slightly too pink in colour for my liking.

Extract from Julian’s Journeys – 



Twitter Id @WorkerJulian

seven-legged race, Exeter, UK

The seven-legged race comprises teams of six people who race around the cathedral close in an anti-clockwise direction. The prize is won by the first team to cross the finishing line having completed 66 laps. The race was started in 1541 by boys who had been unsuccessful in their attempts to join the cathedral choir and who wanted to put a curse on the building by invoking the spirit of the Antichrist with their 6 X 66 idea.

Initially, the teams were tied together with a rope that went around people’s waists so that everyone had the use of both legs, but in 1652 the rules were changed by Cromwell, who wanted to make the race less fun and more puritanical by tying people’s legs together. Thus the tradition was born which is maintained to this day. Twitter Id @WorkerJulian

Things to consider on elephant safari

Soon Major was thirsty, so he headed for a small stream and sucked up a ten yard stretch in a matter of seconds. As an encore he raised his trunk vertically in the air and blew out the last two yards of water so that we tourists were treated to our own mini-monsoon. He trumpeted slightly. He was happy, we weren’t.

Major was off again. After 5 minutes he stopped once more and this time he raised his tail vertically.  What goes in must eventually come out especially with a high-fibre diet. The stench was horrible though I managed to hold my breath for the whole time. However, Major stayed in the same spot after finishing as though he was savouring the occasion and so I had to breathe in this horrible smell. There wasn’t much oxygen around and I began to feel sick; luckily Major moved and some fresh air entered my lungs saving me…for the moment.

The Cart Ruts of Malta

At different sites over the two main islands of Malta and in the surrounding waters are found some man-made features which have been given the name ‘cart ruts’, largely because the first visitors to discover them believed they had been worn by a cart. Their most famous site is at Clapham Junction, named after Britain’s busiest railway intersection, an area in the southwestern part of Malta, where the wind sweeps in from the sea and the air smells particularly salty. This area, about a hectare in size, is similar in appearance to a limestone pavement and is scored by parallel channels up to 20 inches deep and 8 inches wide, with another 8 inches separating the two channels.

These ruts run mostly in straight lines in no particular direction, though there are places where one set of ruts branches off from another, like a set of railway points. There are many ideas about what created these ruts. One theory is that a contraption, similar to the travois of the Native American, wore them away, though this is difficult to reconcile with the shape of the ruts, which to the hand feel smooth and rounded at their base, more consistent with wheels wearing away the rock. If travois were used, what heavy weight was transported on a regular enough basis, along the same path, to wear away the ruts so deeply and why was it being moved by the people of the time?

This is an extract from my book Julian’s Journeys – please visit

for more information

Mr One Dollar

We then encountered a long queue of people holding their passports. At the head of the line was a large overweight gentleman in a grey tunic sitting on a wooden chair similar to the ones we had had at school twenty years previously. The customs official’s hair was thinning and combed backwards, though he had a fine walrus-like moustache. Mr One Dollar wheeled the trolley past the queue, which concerned me, so I indicated to him that we should join the queue at the back, rather than pushing in at the front. He shook his head and smiled. As we drew level with the official, Mr One Dollar said something to him in Farsi. The official looked at me over a distance of about 5 metres with an expression that reminded me of a languid bloodhound. In perfect English he said, with a rather fierce tone, “Where are you from?” “The UK,” I said, brandishing my passport and smiling. He glared at me, “Do you have a visa for Iran?” “Yes, I do,” I replied and started to leaf through my passport. He waved his hand imperiously and said, “OK, you can go, please.” He didn’t even look at my passport let alone the visa. I must have looked awfully confused because Mr One Dollar tugged at my sleeve and beckoned me to continue. He smiled and said, “One dollar, one dollar.”


Extract from Julian’s Journeys available on Amazon and all e-book sites.

The Goat Parva Murder Mystery

I entered the 1st chapter of my new novel into a competition and it won, so the 1st chapter is now available here:

It will soon be available on Amazon and other websites along with my other books, 40 Humourous British Traditions, Julian’s Journeys, Ten Traveller’s Tales, and 40 World Sports

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