Showing posts from April, 2012

Warsaw the Phoenix - The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Bridge (Most Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie, formerly North Bridge)

Just to say I was one of the very first cars to cross the new Maria Skłodowska-Curie Bridge (Most Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie, formerly North Bridge) on Sunday March 25th 2012 when it first opened to motor vehicles. This engineering project was incredibly complex (one of the largest in the EU and the most complex intersection design in Warsaw). Despite all the dramas of naming (in true Polish style!) everyone involved is to be congratulated.
Full detailed information and technical links at,_Warsaw
The car is my concours 1949 MG TC which I have affectionately tended at ruinous expense, intense frustration but much joy for many years now. Properly registered as a classic car in Poland but still on 'proper' English plates as I prefer the classic look of them to the ghastly yellow Polish ones with silly toy veteran car embossed...

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Anniversary

Last night in a quiet moment before I went to sleep I could not help reflecting on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, living as I do where these tragic events occurred not so very long ago. I decided to get out of my warm and cosy bed and read what I had written in my Polish book about this particularly valiant and frantic moment in the tumultuous history of this miracle of a city, Warsaw.
The Ghetto Uprising is too often confused by travellers to this country, understandably unfamiliar with Polish history, with the equally tragic Warsaw Uprising that began on 1 August 1944. As an Australian author with no Jewish or Polish roots, I too initially suffered from a lamentable ignorance of matters almost beyond comprehension for one raised in 'The Lucky Country' - until I began to read. In this I consider myself privileged to have a rather  more objective, what one might even term an outsider's view of such historical events. I count myself lucky not to have absorbe…

Poland Pictured

Some of my other photographs of the country, unfortunately not included in my book on Poland A Country in the Moon are available on my website at:

[For those of you who are interested in such matters, they are mostly non-digital photographs I shot with my non-electronic Nikon F2 with the old Nikon lenses. These days I use a digital Leica more often than the F2. However I feel the 'painterly' quality of landscape and subject cannot be convincingly or adequately created through the Adobe or Capture One processing of digital images. It is so difficult to reproduce that particular patina and soft ambience produced by the 'old cameras'.]

The Last Days of the Round Reading Room at the British Museum and the British Library - and a Pleasant Encounter

I have such fond memories of the old Round Reading Room at the British Museum. Two of my books on travelling in the seductive South Pacific were completed in that inspiring space, the blue dome arching above one like the southern sky, the blue leather seats worn soft and comfortable by generations of researchers, the leather folding reading frames above each desk illuminated by a green shaded lamp with brass fittings. Leather-bound volumes lined the higher reaches of the walls with gilt-lettered spines protected by gilded mesh screens. A rare perfume of scholasticism hovered about the place. The room possessed a singularly English character and style, something fast disappearing today, undefended.  Many great writers wrote great works of literature under this papier-mache covered dome, the phantoms of their minds seemingly imprinted forever on the air. 
Books were ordered by filling out small slips of paper in duplicate by hand, outlining one's requirements and desk number. I colle…