Happy Christmas 2011

Do you know what my younger brother said one Christmas? I’ll tell you. It was back in my diving days when emerging from a dry suit in a tuxedo seemed to me the epitome of cool. Logbooks, snorkels and PADI paraphernalia adorned every nook and cranny. When I’d unwrapped my present from my brother Jake … Read more

Haunted Hastings..

It’s an abomination. You won’t believe this, but Gemma “Blast her Eyes” Atterton didn’t email me last week. Extraordinary, I know, given my frightfully generous offer of a bath, but I guess she was either on a tight filming schedule or didn’t have access to Wi-Fi. No, I’m being obtuse – obviously, she was too … Read more

NEWSFLASH: Hastings Goes Hollywood..

    Down on Hastings seafront is a hodgepodge of film lorries. ‘Expecting any stars, are we?’ I asked a chap unloading his van. ‘Heaps of them,’ he said brusquely. I felt like one of those imbecilic fatheads (also known as fans) that have seriously approached me on a U2 Tour, asking, ‘So which truck … Read more

Italian coffee Explained..

It’s easy to spot tourists in Italy. We’re the ones ordering lasagne and cappuccino at lunchtime. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but you might notice a slight snicker suffuse the waiter’s features. And it’s no good saying jingoistically, ‘Look here, Luigi, didn’t we own Italy once?’ We didn’t; I’ve already tried that line. The … Read more

The Night Crossing To Ireland…

Keeping up a blog is a damnable business. Periodically, I wonder if it’s worth it, but then I peruse my diary and see things like this: ‘Oh yeah, I’d shag anything,’ said Paul. ‘I’d fuck a snake if I could get hold of it.’ And I decide perhaps it is, after all. Paul, standing outside … Read more

A Dorset Dinosaur?..

  If you happen to be passing Lyme Regis in Dorset, pop into The Fossil Shop for a journey back in time. From behind a replica shark jaw – replete with real, 250-million-year-old Florida shark teeth – emerges a shopkeeper. ‘All right?’ he asks cordially, and proceeds to explain how the fossils are created. ‘The … Read more

Dangerous Dorset (Part Two)..

Coo, this clay is heavy. After a good deal of waggling – or is it wiggling? – my leg is once again mobile. But simply lifting the mud-caked foot requires the strength of a superhuman; the weight of the boot – needing both arms to lift it – is like constantly dragging a medium-sized child … Read more

Dangerous Dorset (Part One)..

‘Is there a path, Dad?’ I holler. Ahead of me, an intrepid figure – beneath a cap with “Sports” marked on the back – flails among impenetrable brambles. ‘Yes, if you’re a badger,’ he yells back. Blood is leaking from his left forearm. We are trying to walk the South West Coast Path in Dorset: … Read more

Two Wheels in Sussex..

 ‘This is where my route falls down,’ admits my father. ‘I don’t know how to get back.’ Taking a sanguine view, he pours our well-deserved tonic – a flask of tea – and consults the map again. His finger traces the disused railway line we’re cycling along, and he absent-mindedly eats my last apple and … Read more

Killing Time..

‘I’m still looking for a bit of rope,’ said Princess, interrupting my chapter. He picked his nose for a moment, stood at my truck door and waited for a response. Frankly, I wasn’t really in the mood for bothersome interlopers – Jules Verne’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth was just hotting up. ‘Yes, … Read more