Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Travel and Places Category
The Savage Frontier: Page 99 Test

The Savage Frontier: Page 99 Test

  • January 17, 2019
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Marshal Zeringue’s Campaign for the American Reader blog has a fun exercise called ‘ the Page 99 test.’  Following Ford Madox Ford’s dictum ‘ Open the book at page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you,’ it invites writers to talk about page 99 in one of their books and see whether it bears out Madox Ford’s thesis.   This is my contribution, about The Savage Frontier: the Pyrenees in History and the Imagination: 

‘The Savage Frontier is a history of the Pyrenees, which challenges the stereotypical image of the...

A Week in Galapagos

  • December 03, 2014
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Last month I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Galapagos Islands while leading a walking group in Ecuador.   In fact we didn’t do much walking on Galapagos itself, but spent most of the time on board ship, landing on dinghies at different islands to look at the wildlife.

It was simply one...

Catalonia’s human castles

  • February 09, 2012
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A very good Catalan friend of mine has just sent me a fabulous calendar of one of my favourite Catalan folk traditions: els castellers the castlemakers.  It’s a tradition that was first recorded in the late eighteenth century, though its roots may reach further back than that.

It sounds simple and a little...

With map and compass

  • November 05, 2011
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I’ve just spent a fantastic week in the Lake District, doing a course on walk leading and navigation.  It’s not a part of the UK I know at all well, but I now see what Wordsworth and Wainwright were on about.  It’s an amazingly dramatic and compelling landscape, with an endlessly variegated terrain...

Spain is different (2)

  • August 19, 2011
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Spain may be hovering on the brink of disaster,  but Barcelona is  not the kind of city to allow the prospect of bailouts, cuts and economic collapse to interfere with the essential rituals of the Spanish summer.  On Wednesday night the middle-aged football fans leapt from the couch in the opposite flat and...

Spain is different (1)

  • August 17, 2011
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I’m writing from Barcelona, where I lived for nine years during the 1990s.    The early 90s were boom years for the Catalan capital, as they were for Spain in general.   It was a period in which the Barcelona town council and the regional government was pouring money into public building...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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