Purgatory in Paradise Cove

They say that the best travel stories are the ones that go supremely wrong. The train that leaves the station with all your stuff aboard while you get a gelato on the platform. All you have left is a handful of kopecks and a mango ripple cone.

The toxic tummy bug that strikes you down when you have three flights and a complicated transfer — Milan has two international airports, what poor planning! — and you are down to zero clean laundry. Just a pair of flight socks to hold the tide.

Paradise peek (CC by micadew)

This wasn’t like that. The travel was perfect…


But not for me

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Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash

It was the perfect night. Full moon, summer solstice, clear sky, and the evening air so warm and heavy it felt like silk on my skin.

Silky, with the fragrance of roses and honeysuckle as we Students walked down through the garden to the croquet lawn where the temple waited under the tall trees.

Nicole and I strolled together, enjoying the moment.

“When a wise man walks,” Sage was fond of telling we girls, “he just walks.”

That was the theory, and we tried to walk as if that was all there was in the moment. Try as we might…


Please remove yourself from the human race at your earliest convenience

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Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash

I’m in an online book club and one person asked for recommendations on books NOT to read. Oh boy, did people pile on!

Everyone had a book they hated. Mostly books I’d enjoyed, which may say a bit about the variations in taste. I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love even though some very nasty things were flung at it.

I’m one of those who swoon over Bridges of Madison County, but readers queued for a couple of online blocks so that they could kick that sweet little book in the nuts.

Someone mentioned Wild Animus, which was given away by the…


Netflix uncovers golden treasure

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A Scene from “The Dig” (review image via Netflix)

Sutton Who?

Archaeology hit the big screen with Indiana Jones, a swashbuckling treasure hunter filling museums with ancient loot in breaks from his day job as a university lecturer. The action rarely stops, the bodies pile up, and the evil Nazis are finally thwarted as Indiana chugs off into the sunset with his beautiful sidekick.

This is the other side of the coin. The most lethal weapons here are arch British one-liners, the temples and crystal caverns are replaced by green fields and mud, and the guy doesn’t get the girl.

The period is the same, with the Nazis threatening and the…


Gotta catch ’em all…

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It takes all types: Pokemon Go characters. Image by Alejandro Cartagena 🇲🇽🏳‍🌈 on Unsplash

I have a girlfriend. Let’s call her Amy. She’s that person. The sort that could be a character on the female version of The Big Bang Theory. You know: she gives 110% in some areas, and makes up for it in others.

Like social skills. She can talk about her latest boyfriend, obsession, fad diet, internet addiction, hobby or anything really for hours upon without giving you much of a chance to get a word in.

Especially when it all comes crashing down. Honestly, Amy makes some very poor choices — she has more exes than anybody I know, and…


Revealing find in weekend market exposes unlikely truth

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I was browsing through a pile of books this morning and found one of those “signed by author” copies.

It reminded me of the time I was helping out a friend who was selling a load of old paperbacks at a flea market. We were flogging ’em off for a buck each, and he said, “Pity they aren’t signed editions — we could triple the price and really clean up!”

I looked at the pen in his pocket, and said, “Righto!”

So we were showing to the punters that the author had autographed our copy of a book, often with…


A new sweet song

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Stacey Abrams (CC image by LBJ School)

The news out of Georgia is positive. In a good way. As I write, it is all but settled that the Democrats will win both Georgia Senate seats in the special elections.

This means that incoming American President Joe Biden will have — with a bare margin — both houses of Congress to work on passing a legislative program after the obstructive and then destructive years of Mitch McConnell and Don Trump.

This must be a sweet day for the most influential American not holding elected office, Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the election for Governor in Georgia in 2018…


…and I think every book-lover shares it.

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Who doesn’t love a good library? Say what you like about e-books and audiobooks, but the tactile pleasure of picking up a real printed book is very real.

The heft of the thing in your hand, the feel of it against your fingers, the smooth sliding sounds of pages and endpapers as you open it up, and even the smell as you stick your nose in and get a really good look. A cold plastic tablet has none of that.

Just running my hands along the bumps and patterns and texture of the spine; I don’t get that with a…


Clean the slate with the other’s mind

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Talking Friends (CC image by Brickset)

The practical use of philosophy is not whether you can make money out of it, or stack the dishes in a better fashion or make somebody get you a fresh cup of coffee.

It’s all about opening up the brain to thinking about deep topics. Otherwise, that bit of our thinkingness gets eaten up by other things, like how to make the housekeeping money go further, or how to win some online game, or remembering who said what in every episode of Friends.

I love talking Plato, or puzzling out the Sanskrit of the Vedas, or deconstructing Shakespeare. Things that…


Christmas down under

Aussie beach (image by author)

The family tradition here in Oz. Christmas at the beach.

In Australia, it’s early summer, school holidays, three public holidays within a week, and time to escape the everyday.

Load up the car, drive for hours, meet up with the reels, and if you are a kid, get burned to toast trying out the Chrissy togs on a brand new beach towel, rinsing off any sunscreen by getting dumped in the surf, and cramming every fold of skin full of golden sand.

For adults, it’s a chance to get sozzled on fizzy wine, sit back under a floppy hat and…

Britni Pepper

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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