‘All fur coat and no knickers’ is how I’d describe my hotel in Uzbekistan. A northern England expression describing something, or more often someone, that is all style over substance.
Arriving at a foreign airport unable to speak the language or read any of the airport signs is daunting. Shit-scary but thrilling too for this nervous traveller.
An ordinary visit to the park turns into a near-death experience. As I dutifully pick up his shit, my dogs runs toward a busy main road.
I’m a fan of meditation but I get distracted. Asked to visualise a mountain scene, my imagination runs amok. I’m soon ‘off script’ chatting to my favourite aunty.
Looking for unusual things to do in Canada? Visiting Ottawa? You should try incarcerating yourself in a real prison. I did.
Aged 22 I travelled around the world. A 4 week bus trip across Canada was the final leg. Here I was to experience my biggest travel disappointment.
2018 didn’t go your way? Lady Luck pissed on your chips? If the answer is yes, you’re probably desperate enough to try some superstitious claptrap. You’re in the right place.
Christmas in Australia is shit. Perfect, cloudless blue sky, stunning beaches and relaxed bonhomie. It’s intolerable.
Budget travel brings an unavoidable level of intimacy. Oversharing in extremis. De-briefings requested and given after each visit to the toilet.
We were carried by a motorcade of tuk-tuks through the dark, dusty streets of nighttime Delhi on a frightening, fruitless search for a hotel room.
Standing outside the train station on London Road, I looked across at the skyline of Leicester. ‘Whatever happens, I’m not coming to this shit-hole’, I thought.
In a world of divisive politics, orange presidents and Brex-shit, we can at least agree on one thing. Garden gnomes are tacky.
I turned the corner to come nose-to-nose with a decapitated camel, hanging grimly outside a butcher’s shop. A hook through the underside of its jaw.
You’re unaware your arm is resting up against a boiling kettle. The skin is burning but you can’t feel it. When and how do you realise? When you smell your skin crisping up like pork crackling?
My tour was interrupted by an old lady who seemed to know everyone. She took my and warmly between hers. Not letting go.
When I woke I touched the side of my head gently. Dried blood. The pain was intense. Like a visit by the mother of all hangovers.
It felt like my eyeballs had swollen to the size of cricket balls, being pushed out of their sockets from the inside.
I vomited in the bathroom sink before leaving for school. Nerves. Today I joined the new sixth-formers as they began their A levels.
The impact of the collision with the car may have damaged my kidneys.
I’d need an internal examination. I chose not to ask what that involved.
Wearing only a paper gown tied at the back, I climbed onto the cold radiography table. I rolled onto my side into the foetal position as instructed.