Ann Wallace

Ann and Nigel spent last winter sailing the Caribbean and Florida before settling into a comfy stay on the Thames in central London for seven months. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better the intrepid pair are heading for Europe.  Stay tuned.


30 AUG 2019: Yes, calling all women and men (and everyone else!) who love a bit of glamour.  Make your way to Montreal before 8 September this year.  Dress in your best or your most outlandish (and bring sketch pad and camera if you’re a designer) for a museum fashion show like no other.  It’s the Thierry Mugler Couturissime Exhibition, enjoying its premiere here in Canada before it moves on to Rotterdam and other venues later in the year.    MORE

24 JUL 2019: The springtime return to our floating home in Antwerp meant one thing - it would soon be time to set sail again. There were still a few attractions on our wish list - parks now in their spring splendour and a famous museum - together with more mundane things to be done such as checking boat systems and re-stocking the fridge. And, of course, we had a few friends to bid 'farewell' to, including a couple of favourite bar owners and the charming maitre'd of our favourite restaurant who, seemingly with great sincerity, clasped our hands with tears in his eyes and expressed the wish that we would return soon. One day we hope we will. MORE

20 JUN 2019: Our motorhome adventure in Italy was rapidly drawing to an end. So, with just a few days on the rental left, would we have enough time for a quick visit to Verona and a glimpse of the Italian Lakes before we were due for a family get-together in Milan and the relinquishing of our motorhome in Monza? Without spoiling our days too much by rushing we would try. MORE

04 APR 2019: The year was 55 BCE. The place was Rome. The protagonist was one Gaius Julius Caesar. And in the summer of that year, Caesar turned his gaze northwards upon an island, reported to be inhabited by barbarians. And Caesar wanted these uncivilized people to be subjugated to the rule and system of Rome. The era of Roman Britain was about to begin. MORE

A Garden Lost in Time
25 MAR 2019: Wales is a beautiful corner of the world.  It is a land of rolling hills and roaming sheep, a land of legends and beautiful voices to tell or sing of those legends.  It boasts of more castles per square mile than any other land.  Its coastline is rugged, parts of its interior are mountainous while a variety of parks offer hiking and cycling trails, lakes and beautiful scenery.   MORE

Music, art and literature in the English countryside
12 MAR 2019:As you make your way - by train or car - through the quiet and glorious countryside of England's East Sussex it's hard to believe you are approaching one of the world's greatest opera houses.  Your destination is the tiny village of Glyne, on the outskirts of which stands Glyndebourne, a country house that has been home to opera since 1934.  In the early days the opera-loving owners of this home - the Christies - presented operas within the house, but the annual festival became so popular that a free-standing, 1,200-seat opera house has now been built on the beautiful grounds.  MORE

05 MAR 2019: A seemingly unremarkable row house stands in a quiet, rather plain, street in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the City of London, close to busy Liverpool Street Station and the Old (and famous) Spitalfields Market. Try as I may, I cannot describe the house better than the introduction on the website. MORE

14 FEB 2019: It is one of my favourite places on Earth. (Well, I guess it has to be on Earth since I have not engaged in space travel.) It is a church, although I profess to no religion. Blink and you might miss it! Even if you do find yourself on the rutted laneway that leads to All Saints Church, Tudeley, in England’s beautiful county of Kent, it is unlikely you will be overly impressed with the unremarkable church that comes into view. Yet this little church is unique and beloved by many, including me.   MORE

05 DEC 2019: It seems almost every week we hear a story of disgraceful behaviour on board an aircraft.  Some people merely have their alcohol supply cut off, others are restrained by the on-board handcuffs, occasionally the pilot considers the behaviour so disruptive and dangerous that the plane is re-directed to the nearest airport where it is met by police and the perpetrator is arrested and the other passengers are seriously delayed. MORE

11 JAN 2019: Gorgeous Venice has been ‘in decline’ for hundreds of years as trade wars and the rising ocean have taken its toll. Now the hordes of tourists have driven away most Venetians, except those employed in the tourist industry in some way. Plans have recently been announced to charge and limit the number of tourists, but while this unique city stands (or floats), most people want to visit - and last year that included my husband and I. MORE

12 DEC 2018: As we made our way north through Italy, we were well aware that the days and weeks were slipping by and that we had to keep an eye on the calendar to fit our final itinerary into those days. We wanted to have enough time to see something of the Italian lake district and to visit a niece in Milan. But we also had Venice on our list - an incomparable city that I had visited back in the sixties, but that my husband had never seen. MORE

05 SEP 2018: On a bright February day, just three weeks after we had arrived in Sicily, we again crossed the Strait of Messina bound back to Italy's mainland.  We planned to pause in the city of Reggio di Calabria, after which we intended to hug the coast around Italy's 'instep' and 'heel' before heading north. MORE

Part II
28 JUN 2018: From our campsite near the hilltop town of Enna in central Sicily we headed back to the western coast.  This was not to be a good drive:  the initial section was over rocky farm tracks before we joined the highway to Agrigento.  This stretch was under construction for many miles, clogged with trucks and other traffic, with confusing, rough-road diversions.  We were getting used to the fact that, although mostly rural, Sicily is, in parts, a crowded and congested island.  We certainly had not expected to encounter such massive highways. MORE

Part I
07 JUN 2018: From Greek mythology to the writings of Homer.  From an ancient proverb to modern political jokes. From a multitude of paintings to an opera.  This and much more can be attributed to the mere 5km expanse of water that separates mainland Italy from Sicily known as the Straits of Messina.  The sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters sited on opposite side of the Strait, representing the maritime hazards posed by this stretch of water, namely a shoal on one side and a whirlpool on the other, leading to the idiom 'having to choose between two evils'. MORE

Naples is not to be missed
03 MAY 2018: It was during the second week of February that we skirted Rome before veering off the highway into the hills to the south.  Our actual destination was unknown; all we did know was that we had a set of co-ordinates plugged into our GPS.  Our guidebook listing farms and wineries that welcomed motorhomes for overnight stays had featured one close to our route and were going to give it a try. MORE

04 APR 2018: It was time to leave San Remo on Italy's Gulf of Genoa shore and head south.  We wanted to see something of Italy's fabled north-west coast before the busy spring months and before heading inland to even more famous Tuscany and Umbria.  We bid 'farewell' to the helpful office staff in our pretty San Remo campsite and soon we were passing Genoa on the highway. A visit to this ancient port city was tempting, but we'd already agreed that in a country as rich in sights as Italy we couldn't 'do' it all. MORE

28 FEB 2018: Let's not mince words. I think it highly unlikely that any of us will be going to Monte Carlo for a long vacation any time soon. Having said that - what do I know? Perhaps you have friends with a yacht? Perhaps a pied a terre? Perhaps tickets to this year's Formula I race? What I do know is that Monaco/Monte Carlo is easily reached from both the French and Italian Rivieras and if you are nearby, a day trip to this unique city state is well worth taking.   MORE

30 JAN 2018: We had settled down in Antwerp's fine marina for the fourth winter of our five-year boat trip and were enjoying all that city had to offer. However, on 7 January last year (my birthday, in fact) we awoke to an inch of snow on our decks. "Outta here!" my husband said decisively, and I certainly didn't argue! MORE

22 DEC 2017: As everyone knows, Christmas markets are a feature of many European towns and cities at this time of year, and our temporary home last winter - Antwerp - is no exception.  Such events are popular with visitors: we heard many languages on the streets, and saw several large cruise ships tied up on the Schelde river close to the historic centre of town.  But it is to the locals that this massive party really belongs - and they enjoy it to the full. MORE

07 NOV 2017: I ended my last column as we left the Paris marina. On a glorious early October day we motored along the Seine, memorably passing Notre Dame and soon turning north-east towards Picardie, towards the region known as Nord-pas-de-Calais and eventually on into Belgium. These regions are well known to those who come to pay their respects in the many cemeteries that remember the bloody Battle of the Somme of World War I, but apart from those pilgrimages the region is probably not well-visited by North Americans.   MORE

19 OCT 2017: Or five weeks, from late August to the end of September, to be more accurate. Who would complain? Whether one has visited or not, we are all aware of Paris’s charms and treasures, its parks and gardens, its galleries and museums, its incomparable architecture, its loving couples, its food and music and its unique atmosphere. All this and more can still fill the visitor, whether first time or frequent, with wonderment. And so it was with us as we spent those five weeks - in glorious weather - in France’s capital that, in spite of some negatives, remains magical.   MORE

19 SEP 2017: It was time to head north. We had achieved our aim of reaching the Mediterranean and had spent ten sparkling days there. Now it was time to negotiate the canals of France once again and, we hoped, reach Paris by late August, as we had a marina reservation there for a month. In fact we were on the marina’s waiting list to spend the whole winter in the capital, but that’s a story for later! We turned into the Rhone River once again and started our journey north. Ahead of us stood 232 locks and a summit tunnel.   MORE

11 AUG 2017: It was high summer and the Mediterranean beckoned, as it does to all those south-bound boaters negotiating the fast-moving Rhone River as it approaches its mouth.  For some unknown reason, the French have allowed this wide estuary to become silted up, so boats must pass through a lock into the wide harbour of Port St. Louis before reaching the ocean.  This, in torrential rain, we did, to be greeted by a genial harbourmaster and to find a well-run marina in which to spend several days.  MORE

Avignon and Arles
29 MAY 2017: Spring comes early to Valence in France’s Rhone-Alpes region where our sailboat had been moored in a pretty marina just off the Rhone River for the winter of 2015-16. We had enjoyed some travels by road during the winter months, but with warmer weather promised we were keen to be on the move on the water once again. MORE

12 APR 2017: Gibraltar is much in the news these days, especially here in Europe where Brexit threatens to open old problems between Britain and Spain. The possible outcomes range between ‘a good understanding will be reached’ to, well, ‘war’ as the British Government have declared they will do all it takes to defend their 200 year-old Colony. While the latter option is highly unlikely it is possible that the atmosphere on The Rock, as it is known, may change in coming years. So before then, time for a visit? MORE