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Six Months Later

Six Months Later

Six months ago, my friend, mentor and sometime drinking partner Stephen Phelan stood where I’m standing now. That day in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, the view was not pretty. “In the middle of town, near the seafront, a few buildings remained upright, though stripped down to red metal frames and loose..
Isolation and the Last Samurai

Isolation and the Last Samurai

At the start of the 17th century and the beginning of the Edo Period, Japan decided it didn’t want foreign friends any more. Citing moral decline, the arrival of alien religions and the wicked vices of the wider world, it closed its doors and entered a period of self-isolation known..
For Relaxing Times…

For Relaxing Times…

They say in the original Gaelic it means “water of life” but in most of my experiences whisky has had the opposite effect. I first tried it at the age of 11 during a family holiday to the Scottish Highlands. We’d visited a distillery and had a tasting at the..
Party Time

Party Time

This blog entry was supposed to be all about carnivals in South America. As Wee Mo and I couldn’t stretch our budget to go to Rio – and quite frankly didn’t fancy the danger – we managed to arrange things so that we would be compensated by three other carnivals..
There is a Light and it Never Goes Out

There is a Light and it Never Goes Out

My grandfather was in it from the very start, lying about his age so he could join up early. His first missions in the Second World War came on the notorious Russian Convoys, when British ships would navigate icy North Sea, around the Norwegian coast, sneaking past German forces to..