The deepwater port at Piraeus

At Piraeus’s deepwater port ends Europe where Themistocles built his navy sheds and high walls against the Persians, walls to protect the precious Athenian way of life. Now Europe ends in concrete and quayside cranes made elsewhere, raised over the sea to process containers sat waiting in the sunshine. An international ship approaches slows and […]

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Swimming for England (complete)

“And time passes, it is only life itself that never changes – when we are all gone the clouds, the gone the clouds, the stars, the cities will still bustle and hum with no thoughts at all for who lived for a bit and then disappeared.” John Hickman, 1960 Chapters The Bosphorus Page 3 Alcatraz […]

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February morning / the 7.18 to London

A press of metal on metal, the simplest trick and yet the most important, so soft and true we might be starting on runners in the snow, leaning something heavy against a tree. Any man’s walk, his run, now a dash by a free horse, steady, incrementing around a bend and we are travelling. A […]

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Swimming for England (extract)

One week before they flew to Turkey he met Eric for a final training swim. It was dusk and warm. As he waded into the cool water he was overwhelmed with despair. When he put his head down into the dark water and began a slow crawl towards the centre of the lake voices of […]

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Notes on Narita Airport

Air-side in the Asian Café Bowl Bowl, a mug of creamed coffee and a madelaine for comfort for I am tired and Tokyo’s mass-produced pastry is wonderful, light as air this one, promising little but holding fat almonds sweet as butter. The café is crazy, there are waitresses yelling orders over the maddening tannoy announcements, […]

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Lake Malawi

In Dar es Salaam we boarded the bus and then just sat there, waiting to go, the engine idling while through the open windows passed a fine dust and raised by unseen hands, aluminum trays of over-ripe bananas and bags of cashews, the banana smell and the hawkers crying for their money, the hawkers’ smell […]

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Notes on Dubai

Sunday AM A taxi driver called Maithripala (not his real name) gives me a lift into town from Dubai’s International Airport. M is in his thirties, smart, apparently upbeat, anxious to be helpful. He is a fine driver but it is not hard to imagine him doing equally well in less monotonous work environments. M tells me that […]

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