European Sensations

Shuffling through Italian border control like level 99 on Nokia Snake

Cowbells jangling in the cloud cover at dawn.

Strong coffee poured from a moka pot onto microwaved milk in a tiny kitchen in Naples.

The smell of alpine forest. Rounding a bend to see the peak of the mountain Pitalus, and the steep meadows bathed in sunshine.

The colours of Venice after the sun gets low.

The cold, sweet water dispensed by the water fountains suspended on the cliffs along the Path of the Gods.

Removing my hiking boots after ascending and descending the hundreds of steps from Amalfi to the Valle delle Ferriere.

The view of everything from the top of Arc de Triomph where a hazy, grey sky turns the muted, symmetrical avenues of Paris into an infinite sphere of amazing views.

The contrast between the bald, muscular Italian man overtaking us at 120km on the freeway and the tiny smart car in which he is seated.

Tucking the lower half of my shirt up into my backpack straps so that my exposed abdomen can leak off some heat into the humid atmosphere.

The shower in Amalfi with its warm, heavy water falling from directly above in a glass cubicle of perfect proportions.

Cheesy dance music thudding as the crowd dances beneath the eaves and shutters of 500 year old buildings, while lightning flashes overhead.

The surge of the Paris metro 4 line accelerating from one station to the next.

The heat of the sun in Rome being instantly extinguished by the massive shadow of the colosseum.

The taste of the puddle of butter in the centre of a French, buckwheat crepe.

Standing between the monumental size of THE CORONATION OF NAPOLEON on the equally immense Louvre palace.

Sitting still in the Luxembourg Gardens under a stormy sky.

Naked and wet in the middle of Qatar airport.

Before... After

If you like Bradism, you'll probably enjoy my stories. You can click a cover below and support me by buying one of my books from Amazon.

If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?

Chance of a Shower

I've been back from Europe for over a week now. Did I ever really go there? The thousands of photos indicate yes.

I've ridden my bike three times already, in an attempt to conserve some of the summer spirit. The first trip was to the supermarket, then on Monday I rode along the Torrens to visit the office. The sky was overcast, the water was brown and the boring, muted towers of the Adelaide skyline gave me a visceral reaction. I muttered some ungracious things about the city and did not take any photos.

Since then my body has adjusted to the dark and the cold and the damp. It was definitely a good idea to put fresh bedsheets on the bed the day we left. There is still eight weeks of winter remaining, but at least the backyard that confronted me after a week away was not just a gigantic pile of mulberry leaves, but a couple of flowers too.

Saturday was my third bike ride, a trip to the markets between downpours for delicious, strong coffee better than anything I had in Europe (except maybe one in Rome) and cheap fruit. I felt a lot better after that one. Then we rode back home.

The Hidden Life of Trees

How can you understand the lifecycle of something that lives for hundreds of years? Do trees have brains? These questions and more are asked in The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, a book which I read in about three days this week.

I love trees. They're tall and stoic, so I relate to them. Like Peter, I too feel a sense of serenity and belonging when walking beneath an ancient forest canopy and that is not just because most ancient forest canopies I've walked under have been adjacent to a thriving craft beer industry. There was a day in Switzerland last month where we walked through a forest ever so briefly and it reminded me of the endorphins of hiking in the forests in the Pacific Northwest. Nearly every chapter in this book also gave me that feeling.

In Hidden Life, Wohlleben summarises the results of many studies into trees and tree "behaviour". Do trees have a sense of taste and smell? They can react in different ways to different predators. Can they remember, and count? They respond to stimulus in different ways after being conditioned, and seem to know what time of the year it is. Do they have friends and enemies among their forest neighbours?

The answers are fascinating, though simplified from what I am sure are rigorous scientific experiments. However at times I did worry that the author may love trees too much. A lot of his narrative seems to be personifying natural selection, biology and physics as thought, knowledge and memory. Surely trees don't have brains. What they have is really just chemical reactions and electrical impulses.

Which, I guess, is actually how my brain works as well...

Perhaps the real problem here is that I have personified myself too much.

Not getting enough emails? Want to receive updates and publishing news in your inbox? Sign up to the bradism mailing list. You'll also receive an ebook, free!

Holiday Heroes

It was three degrees this morning, and I couldn't help think back to the summer of last month and some of the unsung heroes that made it what it was.

Water Bottle

After a day of juggling water refills in the four small bottles we accumulated on the flights over, we bought this bottle in Rome and proceeded to refill it countless times from the free and often constantly running water taps in Italy, Switzerland and Paris. The bottle finally went dry at the security checkpoint for the final flight back into Australia due to the Australian government's policy to keep incoming passengers dehydrated. As if we needed another reason to think Europe was better than Australia. It was recycled in South Australia (hopefully).

Bottle in Lucerne in front of one of the million free, delicious water fountains of Europe.


What started as a pair in Rome for the cost of one gelato (I fished them out of a bowl of spoons sneakily). Despite being compostable they proved extremely durable and honestly I do not feel confident to put them in a green bin. Extremely handy for consumption of high protein yogurt and pudding tubs directly from the supermarket, and sturdy enough to stir a Tupperware tub of oats and yogurt on a walk, where other spoons failed and crumbled. Half of the duo went MIA in Milan, the other is still going strong four weeks later.

Yes, we did bring the Tupperware from home for this purpose.


Probably the only positive out of the takeaway lasagne I bought in Florence was the serrated, plastic knife which then went on a killing spree, including slicing several baguettes, cutting up a cucumber during a picnic in Paris, and spreading a lot of knock-off hazelnut spread on croissants and crepes.

One last crepe for the road, Charles de Gaulle Airport. Also featuring the backup hazelnut spreader, a Gelato scoop from Rome.


Drafted in Rome on our first weekend, started life in a takeaway pasta and went on to scoop a variety of savoury snacks and home-assembled meals. Also pitched in as a spoon after the attrition of our original set of two. The back of each prong was hollow and tapered in at the point, making them quite annoying to clean.

A tin of tuna in Montmartre. In Europe, tins of flavoured tuna are actually large enough to nourish a standard sized human.


The good thing about merino socks is, like Marino shirts, as long as you don't soil them you can just hang them somewhere to air out for a day and then rewear them. (I will die on this hill). This makes them ideal for vacation as you only need to pack a few shirts and socks to get you through a long holiday. This is okay for a month, but the Smart Wool socks I bought in 2013 have unfortunately reached the end of the road. Bought in New York due to me not packing enough socks, I had no idea that I would fall in love with the best, most comfortable and temperature regulating socks I'd ever wear. I remember being disappointed when I realised what I'd bought wasn't a 2 pack, unaware that I'd get more wears out of these socks than any other pair so far in my life.

Alas, you can't wear socks every second day of winter for ten years without them eventually succumbing to wear and tear, and though there are only a few holes among the thin parts unfortunately hanging them outside for a night won't fix that. The time was right to say goodbye, and - like Jim Morrison - lay these socks to rest in Paris.

Skin on my Toes

It was a long and painful death, but it died for a good cause - the sights of Ischia and the Amalfi Coast, and from the tops of the landmarks in Florence.

Low resolution for your viewing pleasure.


(Not Pictured)
My belt did not die in Europe, but it earned a medal of honour for being able to pop the lids of multiple cheap as heck beers in Milan and Paris when I lacked a bottle opener.

Butt Pillow

(Not Pictured)
Lasted until Naples, then taken by the trains into the unknown because I was in a rush to get the suitcase and forgot I'd been sitting on it.


I added better image zoom and optimisation to Bradism today, after June 2023 cracked 100mb page load. Other than that, nights are essentially as above.

Family Reunions

It was a very family and Adelaide focused weekend. Mum arrived Friday night and stayed the weekend. Saturday morning we had coffee at My Grandma Ben at Bowden. Then there was a walk from Grange to Henley Beach. Saturday evening was My Brother's Engagement just off Goodwood Road. Sunday morning we walked Nash Along The Torrens. Then the afternoon was spent learning the basics of quantum physics in Oppenheimer and then dinner at Daughter in Law on Rundle Street.

Dry Ink

I received a parcel from France today containing my notepad and the July/August 2012 issue of Analog that I left behind in Colmar.

What was not in the package was Uni-Ball Signo 207.

image 1867 from

The biro had been mentioned when I'd listed what I'd inadvertently abandoned, and it was the reason for me estimating the package value at €5. Staring into that reused Amazon cardboard and seeing only Alsace air made me realise it was gone forever. Dead or missing in France like Private Ryan.

This made me sad. I wrote a lot of words with that pen, albeit not recently. It travelled with me across the world twice. Losing it made my remission from storytelling sting a bit more. I do still write occasionally, usually by keyboard these days, but I'm devoid of any commitment or habit that would define me as a writer. And I hadn't typed a word since before my holiday on anything that was still in progress.

But tonight, in memory to the pen, I typed a fresh 500 words onto the end of my current project. And if it ever gets published the dedication on the first page will be obvious.