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When The Fat Duck Flew Home

When The Fat Duck Flew Home

A couple of hours into my experience at The Fat Duck, I’m brought what looks like bread and butter. “What’s this now?” I ask, a little too eagerly, the wine pairing tickling my edges. “Fish and chips? A reformed mulligatawny soup?” “No, sir,” the waitress says with a patient smile,..
Pure Electricity

Pure Electricity

They are underpowered. They have poor range. They are slow to charge. So who cares if refuelling is cheap and the world is being saved from the endless grind of fossil fuels? Purely electric vehicles aren’t anything more than glorified milk floats. They aren’t convenient, they aren’t cool, and they’ll..
Patagonian Walkabout

Patagonian Walkabout

Trevor Sumner’s puma was far away. High on a cliff, just inside the Torres Del Paine National Park in southern Chile, a four-legged figure moved to the edge of an ancient fissure and Trevor, perhaps 400m downhill, had spotted it through a tiny pair of binoculars. All week long, he..
Beneath the Frozen Waves

Beneath the Frozen Waves

There are certain mistakes a person should only make once: missing a flight, listening to election pollsters, ordering Hawaiian pizza. To that list I can now add: snorkelling in Antarctica without a fully sealed dry-suit. From the moment I tumbled off the zodiac into near-frozen waters off Gourdin Island I..
The Maharajas’ Express

The Maharajas’ Express

People do a lot of waiting in India. Waiting for work, waiting for a blessing, waiting for things to get better. Often they are waiting for a train. Here are some people waiting on a platform: an elderly man with a waterfall beard cascading from his wizened face onto orange..
The Cowboy Capital

The Cowboy Capital

I don’t like horses. Never have. This ill feeling started about 25 years ago, when the local racetrack commandeered our school’s football pitch to store horseboxes. We were banished to the playground to make way. I grew up in Ayr, home of Scotland’s largest horse-racing track, and throughout my years at..
Choking in China

Choking in China

They say you can see the Great Wall of China from space, but that is not true. You can, however, see something else the Chinese have made: the pollution that hangs over their mega-cities – Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, etc – appears as grey smudges on the green and blue marble of..
India: Too Much, Too Soon

India: Too Much, Too Soon

Anoop was making tea when I asked him about Kolkata. Squeezing the bag against the side of his mug, he considered it for a second. “It is…” he paused while he strangled out the last useful dribble, “the poorest, dirtiest city in India.” This was not what I had wanted to..
The Swings of Scotland

The Swings of Scotland

Robert Charles McInroy and I have been playing a game together for half our lives. The setting may change, so may the conditions, but the result is always the same: he wins. This is bad news for me as our standard wager is GBP 1 million; I owe him roughly..
Pure ‘Shaws

Pure ‘Shaws

Aravind Bremanandam was under a Lada, sheltering from a sandstorm, when he had an idea. Stuck in the Sahara during the Budapest to Bamako Rally he decided that such misery, or adventure, might transplant well to his native India. “People want stupid?” he said to himself. “I’ll show them stupid…”..