Travel Poetry – 1

I have decided to try a new genre called Travel Poetry – I hope you like it.

Small squads of tourists heading to the palace in Kadriorg Park, each with a different photo to take,

It is a mini-Versailles according to the locals.

The President’s pink house is there for all to see




chatterers on seats,

duck watchers,

beautiful blondes dressed in black without a hair out of place even in the breeze, sitting at cafes drinking lattes and being seen.

Trams dropping off tourists who ask is this the right place?




shade and,

bright, bright sunlight illuminating the other half of my bench.

People asking is he writing about us?


Fountains playing that same endless game,

gardens reflecting in ponds, and

parents pushing strollers

This is Kadriorg Park.


Harry Potter’s library gets a new look – in pictures

Travels through History – The Balkans: Journeys in the former Yugoslavia

The Macedonians build a fountain and upset the Greeks.

Villages on the road to Lake Ohrid fly Albanian flags instead of Macedonian ones.

Kosovan taxi drivers believe fundamentalists are being sponsored in their country by former foes.

Dubrovnik is so popular a one-way system is now in operation on the city walls.

In Sarajevo, the place the First World War started is not easy to find, but evidence of more recent atrocities is.

All these stories and more can be found in my new book: Travels through History – The Balkans

Memories are long in The Balkans, contrasts and contradictions are all around. History is always in your face, reminding you nothing stays the same for long in this most fascinating corner of Europe.


Vancouver – Commercial Drive – Part 2

This extract is from ‘Travel Tales from Exotic Places like Salford’

If you fancy an ice-cream on Commercial Drive the selection, from the hundreds on offer, will include chili, Gorgonzola, or lavender. If you want a coffee, the options on Commercial Drive aren’t small, medium, or large; they’re Ethiopian, Vietnamese, or Cuban. There are numerous fruit and vegetable stores along ‘The Drive’ too, ideal if you want to buy supplies for a picnic.

During the 1870s and ’80s, Commercial Drive was a skid road that supplied logs to the Hastings Sawmill on Burrard Inlet. After WWI there was a big influx of Italian, Chinese,
and Eastern European immigrants. After WWII a further wave of Italian immigrants established the basis for today’s Commercial Drive, which was called “Little Italy” for
decades. Commercial Drive is easy to reach on the Skytrain. Get off at either Broadway or Commercial Drive stations and head towards the North Shore mountains. You may at first
wonder if this rundown-looking area is the right place, but don’t turn back. After a block or two you’ll begin to see the choices available.