News from Jupiter

Is it me, or is it the bike?

August 16, 2020

There was a time when I was riding in Malaysia towards Thailand that my bike felt really uncomfortable. It was my first long trip on the bike since the accident that shot a lead pellet into my eye. I was nervous, trying to recover the confidence that I had built up over three years of riding, but the bike just felt wrong. I couldn’t account […]

A Story Out Of Time

July 26, 2020

There’s a story I forgot to tell, back in the early fifties soon after I came back to London from Paris. The war had been over for almost ten years but London was still a city-in-waiting. I didn’t know it at the time of course, but looking back I can see how much quieter it was then, particularly at the end of the day. And […]

Three years too late

July 12, 2020

The only thing to mar that beautiful ride from Bavaria to Aspiran when I brought my BMW down to France in 2017 was an erratic but persistent fault in the fuel system. Every now and then the fuel stopped running, and I had to find a spot by the roadside to stop and fiddle. I quickly found out that if I wrenched the tube away […]

The rise and fall of the Gendarmerie – as I saw it

July 6, 2020

I have never had to deal with the French Gendarmes before. I see them around of course, always very smart and business-like as befits a national police force. Usually I see them in their vehicles, and they are very impressive on their BMW motorcycles. They wear a blue uniform and in the heat of summer here in the south they cast off their jackets and […]

A Trio of 89th Birthday Parties

May 3, 2020

My grateful thanks to all those of you who took the time to wish me a happy birthday on Facebook and Twitter. Since coming to France I have had three wonderful birthday parties. We filled a neighbour’s garden with people and the delicious aroma of chicken and sausage barbecued by yours truly, Here’s one of them: Here’s another: This year there were four of us […]

Recording An Interrupted Life

March 27, 2020

For some time now I’ve been working on an autobiography. I’m doing it mainly for the sake of my descendants who, like most young people, don’t think of asking questions until it’s too late, partly because they’re too busy, partly for fear of being bored, but also I think for fear of finding it rather embarrassing. However, being a writer by profession, I can’t do […]

Après Overland Expo East

October 20, 2019

  What I like most about the Overland Expo meetings is hanging out with the crew, and here I’ve managed to take a really bad pic of three of my friends. That’s Alison Delapp at the back, spitting out an olive stone, and Duncan the Scot who runs the incredible LandRover training course, giving me the thumbs up, and Graham in front who manages just […]

The Joint Is Jumping

October 1, 2019

  It’s almost four years since I conceived this Aspiran project, and at last it seems to be taking off. For those who still don’t know I’ll explain.   At the same time as I wanted to move back to France from California, I thought the best use I could make of my remaining years on this earth would be to help other travellers who […]

Hotting Up In Aspiran

September 21, 2019

  Things are hotting up in Aspiran just as the weather is cooling down. All of a sudden, it seems, people are finding me.   On Thursday I was waiting for Christopher Lee to arrive and work on a book. Then that same day, out of nowhere, came two Aussies on a BMW 800 just to say hello. Hein and Corene Schwartz were on their […]

Here’s a new twist?

September 18, 2019

Just keeping up to date on the various ways in which the French Bureaucracy challenges our ingenuity. I have received a registered letter from Nantes. The government office at Nantes is well known to everyone, including the police, as a black hole. It is where you send applications for a change of driving license. The letter, paraphrased, says, “Sir, on the 9th of July, 2018, […]