Amersham Memorial Gardens pic © Helen Matthews

  • All in Good Time 21 Jun 19

    You might recognise the name Neil Matthews as an occasional travel contributor to Optima Magazine. When Neil is not heading off on exotic foreign trips (Ukraine… North Korea… the Trans-Siberian... Read More

  • An Innovator in Recorded Sound 21 Jun 19

    Ninety years in any business is a remarkable record, but it’s especially impressive given the mercurial, fast-paced nature of the music industry. It’s an industry, though, that Decca was... Read More

  • A Keen Eye and Nimble Fingers 17 May 19

    Two of the highlights of my magazine year are the evenings – one in May, one in November – when the Heath Robinson Museum at Pinner launches its new selections of artisan-made pieces for its... Read More

  • Nashville on my Mind 3 May 19

    Less than an hour after arriving in Nashville’s slightly ambitiously named ‘international’ airport, we were taking in the rowdy strains of some good ol’ fashioned honky tonk music in a bar... Read More

  • Laying Down the Law 19 Apr 19

    The highly regarded former Australian batsman, 50, started his new challenge as head coach at Middlesex in January and is relishing the opportunity to turn around the fortunes of a club which won... Read More

  • Under English Skies 5 Apr 19

    Towards the end of Tate Britain’s new exhibition on Vincent Van Gogh, there’s a clip from Vincent Minnelli’s 1956 biopic Lust For Life. Kirk Douglas, in one of his best performances, certainly... Read More

  • Leader of the Pack 5 Apr 19

    1. Love your luggage: It’s temping to hazard a guess whether your luggage meets your airline’s weight requirements, but this can be a costly mistake, especially as you can buy a handy luggage... Read More

  • Living the Extravagant Dream 22 Mar 19

    Veteran comedy duo Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran still remember the very moment they began their careers as comedy writers. “It was 10th March 1980,” recalls Marks. “We had both left... Read More

  • Trulli Picturesque 22 Mar 19

    Puglia runs down the ‘boot’ of southern Italy from the spur to the heel. Inhabited since Neolithic times, its five hundred miles of coastline have long attracted invaders. Balkan tribes, Ottomans... Read More

  • What a Beautiful Hue 8 Mar 19

    The ribbon of land that comprises Vietnam stretches about 1,000 miles from north to south, yet only 30 miles from west to east. Travelling by road is not easy, nor particularly safe. A single-track... Read More

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