Words about pictures

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  • Postcard from Arles: an evening in Arles with van Gogh

    Vincent’s Cafe Terrace at Night today I wanted to eat at La Cafe La Nuit, on the Place du Forum in Arles which Vincent van Gogh immortalised in his fabulous painting ‘Cafe Terrace at Night’ in 1888: So we drove into Arles which was alive with excitement as it was the first of a three-day public bull-torturing and bull-killing spree,

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Postcard from St Remy de Provence

    4 September 2007 In May 1889, Vincent van Gogh checked in at the St Paul de Mausole hospital in St Remy de Provence, 15 miles from Arles to be treated for his mental illness. He stayed there for more than a year and completed many fine paintings and drawings during his frequent periods of lucidity. In fact painting and drawing

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  • Postcard from Arles: a walk in Vincent van Gogh’s footsteps

    2 September 2007 Vincent van Gogh arrived in Arles in the south of France in February 1888 to seek light, warmth and colour for his paintings for many other romantic reasons, inspired by books he’d read and a quest to find scenes which reminded him of the Japanese prints he collected. He found a delightful ancient town and countryside which

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  • Steely Dan, at last!

    I don't remember exactly when I first heard a Steely Dan record, but I guess it might have been 'Reelin' In The Years' in the early 70s. I was just a child at the time, so did...

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Rebecca-van-der-Putt

    All that remains

    This weekend was spent scattering the ashes of my best buddy Rebecca who died, aged 38, in January 2007. She asked that her ashes be scattered “at as many ancient monuments as possible”. We were concerned that while carrying out her dying wish, fragile neolithic archaeology should not be disturbed nor did we want to cause offence or be accused

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  • The greatest game show on earth

    It’s nearly four months now since trip to south west Africa, and every day I remember a few of the mind-blowing things we had the privilege of seeing and doing. There is one thing I think of just about every day though – camping next to the Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha national park, Namibia on Valentine’s Day. The waterhole is

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  • Signs of the times

    I love signs. Some can be tourist attractions in their own right. Here’s me and Moth at – well, you can read where. And crossing Capricorn in Namibia in the mid-day heat: Some signs warn against elephants – here’s one in Botswana – and we really did see elephants roaming free outside the boundaries of reserves. And here’s me walking

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  • More beautiful African birds

    Here are just a few more of the scores of species of birds we saw in south west Africa. The wetlands of the Okavango delta in northern Botswana are, happily, crawling with lots of feathery friends. Above are a sacred ibis, a blacksmith plover and a spoonbill, just chilling together in the grasses. Blacksmith plovers get everywhere, but that doesn’t

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  • Beautiful African birds

    It’s no secret that I’m quite keen on birds. But I have so much to learn about the birds of southern Africa! I was hoping that on our trip to southern Africa last month there might be an expert birder whose brains I could pick. But the keenest birdwatcher on the trip turned out to be me. Here are just

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  • Dancing in the streets of Outjo

    The inventiveness of people who have very little is astonishing. This young man had no money for a drum kit and virtually no chance of getting into a band that will earn him a living wage. Instead, undaunted by these obstacles, he’s built his own drum kit using old oil cans, paint tins and bits of scrap metal. And every

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  • Robben Island

    A visit to Robben Island

    Guided tours of visitor attractions can be pretty ropey. They can feel like the guide is simply reading meaningless words from a script. This is definitely not so on the tour of Robben Island, which lies baking in sunshine 12kms off the coast of Cape Town in cold, shark-infested waters. We were there just three weeks ago (March 2007). It

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  • Awesome African antelopes

    Look out! This blog is dedicated entirely to antelopes. They all too frequently get IGNORED in wildlife programmes. Why is that? They’re marvellous! They have such awesome beauty, grace, stamina and resilience. I’m pleased to report that on our trip around south west Africa last month we saw antelopes of all shapes and sizes. Here’s a Greater Kudu. We saw

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  • 10cc

    10CC out of ten

    Last year we saw 10cc play at the Cropredy festival, billed as Graham Gouldman and friends. And they were wonderful. Wonderful! So when we had the chance to see them again play last night at our local venue, Oxford’s New Theatre, we jumped at the chance. Especially as we managed to get front row tickets. I simply love 10cc. Their

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  • Cape fur seal noses

    My new favourite animal: the cape fur seal

    The cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) is, in fact, as kind of sea lion, not a seal. But who cares of such taxonomic detail when you can get this close to them? They inhabit the cold waters around south west Africa and appear to be doing very well, thank you very much, despite being ‘harvested’ at one of their

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  • Okavango flight

    The Okavango delta in northern Botswana seeped into my consciousness through watching wildlife programmes. It is much-loved by wildlife film-makers because of its unique habitat of reeds and waterways, scrubby riverine forests and grasslands which support a rich variety of species. It was inevitable that some day I’d visit. I blame David Attenborough. Before we went, my friend Les, who

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  • African penguins

    Don’t you think the fact that there are penguins in Africa is absolutely thrilling? I do. Think about it for a mo. Penguins = Antarctica. Cold. Icey. Brrrr. And Africa = fluffy animals with sharp teeth or hoofs and horns. Africa! Hot. Dry. Very hot, in fact. Phew! So ‘African penguins’ seems like some crazy, freakish contradiction. So the chance

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