The Bradshaw 1860s guide: “Cornwall, from its soil, appearance and climate, is one of the least inviting of the English counties. A ridge of bare and rugged hills, interspersed with bleak moors, runs through the midst of its whole length, and exhibits the appearance of a dreary waste”. Truro is “covered with furnaces, blast houses, potteries and tin works etc”.


IMG_4263Good Israeli food at a restaurant in the German colony while attending a conference at the University of Haifa.

Five million people have now signed the petition to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU.


At the recent SMA annual meetings, we had a picnic at the amazing new Statue of Christ the Redeemer perched on the cliff top in Défalé with stunning views of the valley below. Rio de Janeiro comes to northern Togo.


We’ve killed 24 scorpions at home since 1 January. Flip flops were invented for this purpose. You can also wear them on your feet.

I’ve just returned from Jos, Nigeria, where I was a visiting lecturer at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria. I was teaching orthography development of Nigerian languages in the translation department to eight MA students representing the following languages:

  • Bwaatiye, Zaar, Bura, Mwaghavul (Chadic)
  • Kuce, Pyam (Plateau)
  • Eloyi (Idomoid)
  • Jenjo (Adamawa-Ubangi)

I also had the opportunity to do a couple of days of fieldwork on the tone system of Gworok (Plateau).


Life here alternates between years of high and low mosquito frequency, but one of the best things about returning to Togo this year is that, at least up here on the mountain, there are no mosquitos at all. And if there are none now, there won’t be until May 2019 when the rains start again. Never been known before.
So why did I come down with malaria this morning?
I was quick off the mark with a treatment and am already beginning to feel better.

The peel of an African orange, even a ripe one, is green.

Imagine my surprise then, when Faustin served me an orange orange for lunch today.
Where has it come from? What is it doing here?
And it was an easy peeler.
If you don’t know any Italian opera and want to get into it, here are six reasons why should start with the Royal Opera’s recent production of Gianni Schicchi.

* It’s short (just under an hour)
* It’s fast-paced.
* It’s funny.
* It’s got English sub-titles.
* It’s got the showstopper aria “O mio babino caro”.
* Puccini writes a good tune.

I knew Trump’s performance in Russia this week reminded me something: it’s the denouement of Iolanthe:

Fairy Queen: You have all incurred death; but I can’t slaughter the whole company! And yet the law is clear – every fairy must die who marries a mortal!

Lord Chancellor: Allow me, as an old Equity draftsman, to make a suggestion. The subtleties of the legal mind are equal to the emergency. The thing is really quite simple – the insertion of a single word will do it. Let it stand that every fairy shall die who doesn’t marry a mortal, and there you are, out of your difficulty at once!

Fairy Queen: We like your humour.