Updated: Sep 7, 2019
The central theme of the book is my personal journey following redundancy and financial problems, depression and ill health and my fortunate relocation to Austria. The book has three other main areas of interest: a love story; a nature story and a book about art, culture and the wider world. The love story is one concerning my chance encounter with my now partner Katie which led to our relocation to her home town in Austria. I was surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Carinthian region, and my love of nature was rekindled. I sought repair and rejuvenation through the completion of fifty-two thirteen-mile walks in the span of one calendar year. This act of repetitive walking enabled me to study the changing seasons and explore the flora and fauna of the area; I was able to return myself to health by considering and reconsidering personal experiences, emotions, ideas and memories. I also returned to my love of photography. As the weeks passed, I began to find my sense of place and my new path in life. I realised that I was walking into alchemy, mining for gold as I went. It was then, as a former curator, of both the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham and at Torre Abbey in Devon, and as Shakespeare scholar, that I began to see connections everywhere. I began to invest my walks with meaning from paintings, musical passages and lines of verse.
I hope that Walking into Alchemy will inspire you the reader to find your own path in life, wherever that might take you.