May 2014.

I've bought a campervan as a 60th birthday present to myself, made some curtains and a patchwork quilt, waved goodbye to my family, and set off. My aim is to explore the coastline of Britain, anti clockwise, starting in Kent. I have no idea what will happen.

Monday, 11 July 2011


I am in Gulmarg, up in the hills an hour and a half from Srinagar, staying at lovely Nedous Hotel. Gulmarg is really a winter resort with, I am told, some of the best off-piste skiing you could wish for. The highest cable car in the world goes from here (9000'), to 11,000' and then on to 14000'.

But now it's summertime and the focus is on the meadow (Gulmarg literally means 'Meadow of Flowers') – a huge green expanse which blooms with daffodils in March, followed by lupins and now daisies. The great-grandfather of the present owner built Nedous Hotel in 1888. He brought lupins from England and over the years the seeds have blown all over the meadow.

Lots of local holidaymakers are here enjoying the cool air and the scenery. There is a golf course and a children's park which is popular but most Indians seem to like to wander about or sit on a grassy bank and natter. They also love riding the ponies which are everywhere.. everyone rides – huge men whose feet almost touch the ground, and ladies in saris - bouncing around on these very sure-footed but not very big ponies. It is possible to hire larger ponies and trek in the hills which sounds lovely but I haven't done it.. I have stuck to walking . You really feel the altitude when you go up hill. Back to Srinagar today and heading for Haridwar tomorrow.
(written 7/7/11)