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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..
Le Greed Michelin

Le Greed Michelin

I’m sitting in Benoit, France’s only Michelin-starred bistro, dipping a profiterole into a primordial tar of dark chocolate when I experience two emotions. They occur simultaneously, as the little globe ruptures against the roof of my mouth forcing thick cream and chocolate through my teeth and into my greedy cheeks...
The Laotian Loop

The Laotian Loop

If I knew him better, perhaps I would interpret the triumphant look on Mr Ku’s face as something other than smugness. The little Laotian has obstinately bested my haggling efforts and I must hand over 600,000 kip (about $35) for three days use of two Honda Wave 100cc motorcycles. His..
Cruel Runnings

Cruel Runnings

Day One “The last Ice Age moved quicker…” That’s the verdict of Scott Allaway, an overly honest bobsleigh brakeman, having witnessed my sluggish 30m sprint trial. Bobsleigh training starts with this assessment of speed and though I have some excuses (cruciate ligament surgery for one; zero natural pace for another)..
A Rallying Cry

A Rallying Cry

By definition a road trip should feature at least one road, but given their woeful condition in Tajikistan, it’s probably not a fit term to describe the driving surfaces there. Last year I spent 10 days travelling around the region’s smallest country as part of the inaugural Central Asia Rally,..
22 Hours In Russia

22 Hours In Russia

As the policeman in front of me adjusts the strap on his Kalashnikov, I can’t help thinking of Withnail’s refrain: “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake.” I’m standing at the side of a busy road in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, only because our route on the inaugural Central Asian Rally had..