The words that make up this post were initially written in more or less one go, but ended up far longer than anyone would to spend staring at a computer screen. So I’ve taken the material that initially went into the post and broken it into several pieces. Each one deals with some different bits of what I’ve learned about Slovenia and Austria on my trip. Later posts will get onto Geoff’s (my grandpa’s) story, but first I’m going to try and set the scene for what was happening in the area where he was held. History and the past are not the same thing. Doing history is not about Read full post >>
I’ve had a couple of excellent days in Austria, where I met up with a local historian called Paul Angerer, who showed incredible kindness in giving up his weekend to drive me around the region and show me the various sites associated with my grandpa. Paul’s own history is around here; he has lived in and around Klagenfurt for most of his life, and runs an advertising agency for his main job – but in his spare time, for most of the last three or four years, he has been engaged in some heavy-duty research to write the history of Carinthia (this region of Austria) from all perspectives. Paul’s drive Read full post >>
It’s been a warm day in Domžale, and humid too. I arrived yesterday evening after what felt like endless miles crawling up and then coasting down Austrian mountain passes, above dandelion-flecked meadows, with road and railway ribbling along past towns with names like Spittal an der Drau. I’m not so fond of manicured Alpine landscapes, at least not the inhabited ones; the predictability and tidiness of it all makes me think of the wild jaggedness that they have lost. The rain didn’t help, either, decapitating the mountains’ majesty with fog, and leaving only the staid, mannered human landscape below. Eventually the change of train conductor to one in a blue-green Read full post >>
I’m finally on my way to Slovenia! This is being written in a cafe near the main station in Munich, with me feeling a bit bleary and cradling a double espresso, my bags safely stashed in a locker at the station. I arrived on the night train from Paris, which was a fun experience. I was surprised how full it was, but then when there is a service that good that enables one to escape the hell of flying, why wouldn’t it be well used? It was a pretty decent night’s sleep on the top ‘couchette’ – a kind of miniature bunk bed about eighteen inches under the ceiling, though Read full post >>
So I’m here! I’ve had just over ten days in the new flat now, and while I need to get a sofa, my pictures are not up, and it’s going to take weeks and weeks to get phone and internet installed, I’m pretty well settled now. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived on my own, or had my own place, but it’s amazing how quickly one adapts to these things; already I’ve taken to it so well it’s hard to think about how things were before. The move wasn’t all smooth. It was never going to be when I had to fetch stuff from three locations, and that was Read full post >>
Last weekend I had a lovely day at Chester Zoo with some friends of mine I was visiting for the weekend. The visit was a pleasure – these were old friends I haven’t seen properly for a long time, who have a young family and lots of love and stability to offer them. I felt privileged to spend time with them. This gave me the chance to take some more photos, the best of which are below. You can view the whole lot by clicking here.