Railway Incursions

‘No Kerosene’

‘Erasmus’ Inspired European Interloping.

3 Journeys 2023

For over 30 years we & colleagues have been travelling across Europe, working & learning with local groups in many countries.

3 Months of ‘Peregrinatory Interloping’ will now provide time for fancy, reflection & renewal.

  • The map below outlines the routes of 3 Journeys being followed in early Spring 2023.
  • The first journey has a fixed route, the others are ‘intentions’ and may change due to circumstance, fortune and opportunity.

The Rolling Stones had a ‘No Filter’ Tour
We are calling our

‘No Kerosene’

Journey Outlines:

The first is more structured due to the need to make reservations on several trains and all the ferries


Between 1990 & 2022 partnership projects linked communities and individuals in UK & across Continental Europe. Most activities were supported by EU Funded programmes now titled ‘Erasmus Plus’.

“Erasmus+ Enriching lives, opening minds”
The partnership projects encouraged participants to visit each others’ localities as a means of sharing, through common activities, mutual learning & understanding.

Pathways ID created

16 Partnership Programmes (of 2 yrs length)
1 Community Development programme (2 yr programme)
2 Five day Workshops centred on Bishop’s Castle
2 Two day Workshops in Bishop’s Castle & area

Following the invasion of Ukraine some partners were involved in assisting displaced Ukrainian families.

In 2022 the community in Bishop’s Castle on the English – Welsh Border raised funds to support 2 groups (in Poland & Romania) that, without warning, were required in order to provide support to thousands of Ukrainian families displaced by the Russian invasion.

Visits to the groups occurred in June and October & the UK volunteers are considering ways of developing their existing support.

New Ventures:

The 3 Journeys held in Spring 2023 will include visits to many places & (we hope) friends, colleagues & partners with whom we’ve worked.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion

(T. S. Eliot, East Coker)

This web page will record the travels, visits & meetings that occur during the rail journeys across the Europe continent.

The first web entry was required during the planning stage

The tragedy of the Turkish Earthquake occurred, almost to minute, in which the intended route of the journey there was being finalised. Early assessments of damaged rail infrastructure further illustrate the nature of the tragedy:

“It is believed that a total of 1275km of railway lines have been seriously affected by the earthquake in the Kahramanmaraş region of central Turkey, including damage to 446 bridges, 6161 culverts, and 175 tunnels. The railway track is twisted and damaged… while ten substations providing electric power for rail lines are out of action.”

Despite having links with many people & places directly effected by the earthquakes it would not, at present, be appropriate to visit. The original intentions expressed on the outline map cannot now be considered.

The ‘No Kerosene’ Tour

Rail Journeys, Ferries, Buses & on foot

The tour, developed as 3 journeys, also includes places & people that have been personally significant.

The tour therefore has a very considerable ‘Retrospective’ element.

The first (Blue: February 27th – March 16th) travels north

The second (Red: March 21st – April 20th) is focused on eastern connections

The third (Green: April 25th – June 5th) will attempt to ‘string together’ a series of places that shared partnership activities during the past 15 years.

All the places, included (however mundane in nature), have become, in a sense, pilgrimage destinations.

They provided, during previous visits, personal & social efficacious value. They remain as destinations
– held in the mind,
– capable of providing a form of added depth to normal human experience.
– They become in a rather metaphorically fanciful & personal way, ‘Gateways to Glory’.

Learning of/visiting such places often creates surprising encounters of greater significance than is widely recognised. One result of such regular encounters is to deepen one’s understanding of the depth & detail of European history, the variations of its local people, societies & cultures – and its incredible interconnected & interdependent nature.

‘Obsessive Nationalism’ & insular vision, viewed after such realisations becomes a hollow sham & a dangerous illusion.

These journeys are therefore about ‘connection’; the process of joining, binding, or fastening together.

Connections achieved, friendships made. These were the real results of the partnership explorations.

Physical journeys – ‘Extended Moments of Movement’ (‘sightseeing’) & valuable in themselves – can create unexpected contacts, exciting discoveries…

‘the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after’

…. but to create ‘connection’, rather than simply ephemeral & passing personal ‘experience’, there needs to be some form of destination…. required in the making or confirming of a ‘connection’.

In the planning process of creating the 3 Journeys, there is an inner journey, of memory & of feeling for people and place.

They are ‘lived’ – but as virtual inner encounters (comparable to the virtual world of a computer game) in which the routes are created… but all the while hoping for ‘manifestation’…. that, as the physical journeys occur, so will physical re-connection & reunion.

The interloper travels without invitation.

Arrival at any place may be inappropriate, their presence may be ignored & disregarded, even rejected.

What was once: ‘Dynamic Interconnection’ may no longer be relevant or valued.

This does not detract – a physical return to a place of personal significance, however altered, still allows for ‘fancy & reflection’ – and ‘manifesting renewal’ delivers joy.


How & Why did this form of ‘wanderlust’ develop?

My first memories of rail travel were, aged 4, of travelling from Kilmarnock in Scotland to Manchester. We changed trains at Carlisle where I have strong memories of the gently arched footbridge over the tracks. It still exists – and the station, due to its overall graceful curvature, continues to be a favourite.

My first memories of rail travel were, aged 4, of travelling from Kilmarnock in Scotland to Manchester. We changed trains at Carlisle where I have strong memories of the gently arched footbridge over the tracks & its fine Tudor style buffet. They still exist – and the station, due to its overall graceful curvature, continues to be a favourite.

Also as a 4 year old, journeying from Manchester to Deganwy in North Wales, where by the beach I watched a steam engine furiously struggling to restart a ‘Clubman’ train from the local station.

Aged 10 & first independent journey: From St Helen’s Shaw St (as it was then) to Liverpool Lime St (19 kms). I drifted through the centre (rebuilding after blitz damage) but do not remember returning home.

I evidently did as later that year the family moved to Stratford on Avon and before the end of the summer holidays I had visited and gained a working knowledge of all the Shakespeare Trust properties. I also became a ‘train-spotter’, collecting engine numbers (though the example in this picture was long gone).

Those 2 elements combined & whilst living in ‘SonA’ & became both a tourist guide for the frequent international visitors & their advisor on rail travel.

The presence of international guests in our home was an important element in my development.
The family has always had a radical ‘inclination’ stretching back to the C17th. It was therefore in the C20th ‘Internationalist’ in outlook.
Guests from a wide range of countries with links to the UK seemingly ‘flowed’ through the house: Nigeria, Sri Lanka, India, USA, South Africa, Canada contributed many.

The most significant & regular visitors were those from Germany:
– Jewish ‘aunts’ (by then US citizens), originally ‘invited’ by my parents in the 1930s as participants in the Kindertransport rescue scheme
– The Kalbitzer family – particularly ‘Uncle’ Hellmut, who, with his wife Emmi, & after imprisonment by the Nazis, had, during WW2, been part of the German resistance movement. We regularly received gifts of cigars & at Christmas, Lebkuchen!

Journeying by rail around the UK became part of adolescence, sometimes to the great concern of relatives who felt that I was spending too much time on smoke filled, cold ‘draughty’ station platforms. For me stations were simply places of excitement – with, for example, those such Preston, where the buffet provided a very cheap good-quality lunch of egg & chips.

In 1964, thanks to generosity of aunt and uncle, I travelled to visit them in Philadelphia P.A. There I was regularly asked, by well travelled Americans, my opinion of various European cities…
– embarrassing… before the visit to the US I’d never left the shores of Britain.

I decided that I could not make another visit to the USA until I knew my European neighbourhood.

I’m still learning.

In 1965 those explorations began with a visit to Paris where I slept under a bridge opposite the Ile de la Cité (probably the Pont au Change) & had money and passport stolen.
In 1966 I managed to be briefly detained by East German authorities in Berlin (& was more gently handled than I later experienced in Munich).
Returning from Berlin I experienced ‘An Unexpected Encounter with a Belgian Dentist’ (the first of several Unexpected Encounters that included being ‘hunted’ by a gang on mopeds & a knife attack).

‘Cosi va’l mondo!’
‘C’est la vie’…
‘Such is life’: – simply difficulties to be managed, becoming stories to perform & that marked the start of journeys across Europe during which I attempted to learn and understand more of western end of the Eurasian Continent.

There’s no discouragement
Shall make them once relent
To be a pilgrim

(John Bunyan)

Exploring……..’& so it continued {sometimes} by day and by night’.

Hitch-hiking as a student:
– 1968 to southern Italy & becoming involved in helping Czech students following the Russian invasion that ended the Prague Spring
– 1970 through Yugoslavia to Istanbul & Greece;
– 1980s organising explorations with small groups & family

In Britain, creating (since 1976) walking routes and leading walking based journeys, termed ‘pilgrimages’ – purposeful journeys

1990: we seized the opportunity created by the collapse of authoritarian regimes in Central & Eastern Europe and with young family, drove east to Romania. It was a Life Changing journey.

– since 1990, combining the peregrinatory concept of ‘Purposeful Journey’, with community & personal learning, developing educational based partnership with groups involving over 20 countries.

In every type of journey I’ve attempted to create opportunities (for myself and those with whom I’ve travelled) to learn & understand more of people and place.

Following the completion of our final EU funded Erasmus project in 2022, plans were laid to travel across Europe and visit people and places with which we’ve developed links & friendships during the past 30+ years.

No Kerosene: Journey One

To Finland through Scandinavia.

The 2nd & 3rd Journeys (as indicated by the general map) will be longer in order to ensure as complete a coverage as possible of all significant places. They both will allow for flexibility of route.

The plan for the 2nd Journey

more follows………………

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