Scenes around Tours, Loire Valley

Tours makes for a good base for exploring the châteaux of the Loire. Small, animated – especially in the evenings- and a short drive from the famous Amboise and Chenonceau chateaux. Its famous Cathedral and old town are its main draws and while its château is not as remarkable as the others in the Loire, it is a lively city, with its university town feel, pavement cafés, cobbled streets and bustling Place Plumereau, which proved to be the perfect place for enjoying the warm late fall weather.

A taste of Tours at Odéon

One of the pleasures of travel within France is the ease of it. A fairly short train or car ride and you find yourself in a part of the country offering another piece of the country’s history. We finally went to the Loire Valley – yes unfortunately the ease of travel must also equate with the availability of time – or maybe that’s my poor excuse for why it took us so long to make a trip there.

Books: DARKNESS VISIBLE by William Styron

Title: Darkness Visible
Author: William Styron
Genre: Memoir
Published: 1990

This was a short read about a terrible illness. Styron writes consciously and matter-of-factly about his depression. Consciously because even before he had given it a name, so unaware of the extent to which the disease could be debilitating, he was well aware of his progression into the darkness of it.


Title: The Association of Foreign Spouses
Author: Marilyn Heward Mills
Genre: Fiction
Published: 2010

After having recently read Ghana Must Go, The Association of Foreign Spouses, a book based in Ghana, transported me right back to this country which holds a special place in my heart. Reading it was like reliving my years there, without the themes of domestic abuse and isolation, but with memories about the awkwardness of being a foreigner.

Award season has come and gone


I have added to my list of authors to read, Alice Munro, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize in Literature winner. Yes, because she has won the Nobel Peace Prize, but more so because she is a prolific writer of short stories – a genre I am becoming more and more partial to.

Books: THE COOKED SEED by Anchee Min

Title: The Cooked Seed
Author: Anchee Min
Published: 2013
Genre: Memoir

Anchee Min has written extensively about her life in China in the years prior to the Cultural Revolution, when she was chosen to be the star of propaganda films , and subsequent to that when China underwent a revolution that saw all and everything ever associated with Chairman Mao be destroyed. In The Cooked Seed she writes of the arduous journey from life as a peasant in the countryside; to a stint in a labour camp; to her years as a star of the propaganda machine; to her escape to the US as an art student to the Chicago Art Institute after the death of Chairman Mao and overthrowing of Madame Mao.