Freewheel along the Via Francigena in Italy, an old pilgrimage route to Rome, on a 172-mile tour that links Parma and Lucca. Let an E-bike take the strain, firing up its electric engine when you need a little help on those hills. The week's tour costs £641pp, based on two sharing, through Freedom Treks (01273 224066; freedomtreks.co.uk), including B&B, two dinners, luggage transfers and route maps. International travel costs extra.
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Tuesday 24 August 2010
Monday 23 August 2010
Bill Millin was the "Mad Piper" who played allied commandos ashore under heavy German fire at Sword Beach in Normandy on D-Day, on the extreme eastern flank of Operation Overlord.
Sunday 18 July 2010
Friday 04 June 2010
Switching between grand strategy and local slaughter, and always with a careful eye for the suffering of bombed, shelled and terrorised civilians, Beevor stretches his history between the jittery first days of June 1944 and the end of August – when De Gaulle walked under fire into Notre Dame.
Friday 04 June 2010
Who buys encyclopaedias these days? I am old enough to remember the encyclopaedia salesman, a stoical figure who went hopefully from door to door trying to get sceptical householders to purchase all the world's knowledge, leather-bound in 24 volumes, on the instalment plan; the selling point was that this would help get little Johnny or little Jane through their school exams and into university.
Sunday 30 May 2010
Sunday 02 May 2010
Friday 23 April 2010
Despite the odd blast from nit-picking scholars, Alison Weir deserves the large and loyal popular following for her readable historical biographies. She seems set fair to tow them after her now that she has embarked upon historical novels about the same characters. But I can't help feeling that she has missed the celestial omnibus with The Captive Queen. Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) is the most fabulous (literally) of subjects.
Monday 12 April 2010
Saturday 20 March 2010
A 38-year-old woman has been jailed for 15 years for killing six of her newborn babies.
Thursday 18 March 2010
For three decades, from the year of the coronation, 1953, until the period of the Falklands conflict in 1982, Geoffrey Woolley was a potent, if unseen and largely unknown, influence on British public life. As Letters Editor of The Times he was the final arbiter of what and whose letters were published, which were afforded prominence as lead-letters, and at what point any long-running, controversial correspondence should be terminated. Fifty and more years ago – before the emergence of The Independent, The Guardian, and the Today programme – letters to The Times played an almost exclusive role in setting the public agenda, and Woolley's judgement was pivotal. Above all he was fair to those with minority or dissenting opinions. Woolley refused to be pressured by anybody – least of all by MPs.
Tuesday 02 February 2010
Sunday 31 January 2010
When the author J D Salinger died on Wednesday at the age of 91, his obituaries were as one in crediting him with the invention of teenage angst. His only published novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is regarded as the quintessential expression of adolescent alienation, while his refusal to explain himself intrigued critics.
Saturday 30 January 2010
- 1 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 2 Swedes set up 'ultimate Viking movie'
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
- 5 'It was just like the movie Twister': Man survives Oklahoma tornado by taking refuge in horse stall
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