Greece is the word

It was an event in October to celebrate modern Greek culture and writing. We were there mainly for Bettany Hughes and Victoria Hislop, but both Katerina Vrana and Greece’s answer to Robert Downey Jr, poet/performer Vassilis Amanatidis, proved to be surprise discoveries of Greece is the Word.

And you can watch the whole day’s events below. You probably won’t spot us, though.

Editing Geo:International

Just a quick note to say that as of the February 2013 issue, I’m going to be editing Geo:International. It’s something of a homecoming for me, since I was editor of Mapping Awareness for over a year, back in the 90s, and it feels good to be back. More details about commissions et al once I’ve settled into the job.

Listen to me on Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition

I was on Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition last night! Woo! Actually, I was on it last week for all of two sentences but they were good enough apparently to get me back on this week to have another go at talking about the coming season of US TV. If you want to listen to my shiny opinions of The Playboy Club, Pan Am, Castle, Parks & Recreation, Terra Nova, Falling Skies, Wilfred, In Treatment, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and – amazingly – Who’s The Boss, fingers crossed the embedded player will let you for the next week at least (don’t know if this will work in the US). My bit begins at 2h16mins in or thereabouts and lasts for about 20 minutes.

Santorini – you must go!

A church dome in Santorini


Just got back from two weeks in Santorini. It’s gorgeous, it really is, and even with two weeks, it’s hard to do everything, even though it is quite a small island/archipelago. Oia is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to, but the Prehistoric Museum in Fira is also a must-see for its Bronze Age frescos.

The islands of Santorini

Looking to the northern islands of Santorini

A church in Oia


Sunset at Oia


Picking a gym

Finding the right gym is something of an artform. I’m not sure I’ve mastered it though. I spent a good week or so investigating the local gyms, ended up joining one in London Bridge and I’m not sure I made the right decision.
Virgin Active – Strand
Very nice. Very shiny. Lots of machines. Has a relatively small pool. Most of the free weights were available. Just hideously expensive, not quite as easy to get to for me as ones near London Bridge and the membership person wasn’t very helpful. You also have to fill out a whole lot of forms to even get a trial. Towel service extra. Men’s toilets were a bit nasty.
Fitness First – Beckenham
Good equipment. Good use of space. Helpful membership person. Towel service extra. Just a little bit soulless and very hard to get to by train and public transport.
Virgin Active – Bickley
Easy to get to if you’re going by train from Victoria, since it’s near Bickley station. Great facilities. Lovely pool. Massive number of machines and free weights, including the fabled power plates. Has a good café. Nicely priced too. If it had been better located, I would have joined this one (and still might).
Fitness First – Cottons (London Bridge)
The one I actually joined. Reasonably priced (compared to Virgin Active – Strand anyway). Has a smallish pool. However, it’s always busy; the front of counter staff and membership staff don’t seem to care; they messed up my health check-up booking so I never got it; the pool flooded the lower levels; I’ve been turfed out once because they were closing the gym at 3.00pm to connect it back up to the National Gird; almost all the doors have been taken off the men’s lockers (I don’t know why); they gave me someone to set up a training programme who had never used half the machines; and it closes at 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays (I was turned away at 5.30pm). And all that in only the last fortnight. Towel service included though.

Pancake Day excitement

It’s Shrove Tuesday today. Does it say something about me that I’m more excited by the thought of Pancake Day than I get about my own birthday?