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Deskchair traveller

Is it just because I’m thinking about holidays, about travel, about visiting new places, that there seems to be a theme to web site updates I’ve made recently?

According to the information about a new anthology of poetry from Siberia I recently added to the Smokestack books site,

… Siberia is also a place of winter magic, a land of extreme natural beauty crossing seven time zones, of ice-princesses and talking bears, frozen mammoths and the shamans who walk among the dead.

One to read about rather than to visit, perhaps.

In Alan Mann’s latest dispatch from Tenerife, he ventures cautiously onto the naturist beach. There’s a fascinating rocky landscape, and the perfect picnic:

Our picnic goes down well. The scotch eggs beautifully made, the salad crisp and dressed within thin sliced brown bread, the wine in thermos flasks to keep it cold.

Sounds good – but that was then, before mass tourism came to the Canaries.

Wine, though, there’s an idea: and Helen Savage has been sending me notes of some mouth-watering tastings in the south west of France. I never knew that when grapes ripen, the pips ripen too, but it seems so:

Part of the secret, Emmanuel insists, is to pick the grapes at exactly the right moment. "As soon as the pips taste ripe you have just six to twelve hours to complete the harvest, otherwise the wine will be heavy and jammy."

Time to get out the Michelin road atlas, I think…

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