Cathedral

I am staying on Nob Hill, right at the summit. This is almost as high as it gets in San Francisco and the roads running south and east fall away like¬†glassy¬†pistes down the sides of a mountain. My hotel shares this narrow plateau with the city’s Episcopal Cathedral. Through the night the bell in its […]

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Notes on swimming the River Dart

A Brief History of Viper’s Quay “The original ‘Viper’s Quay’ was a small quay or jetty at the Southern tip of the property, downstream of the Anchor Stone. No traces of this remains and indeed the access to it has been greatly eroded over the years. It is easy to imagine how its sunny position […]

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Swimming for Roddy

10 years ago Roddy Scott, a freelance journalist, was shot dead by a Russian soldier in Ingushetia. He was travelling with a group of Chechen separatists, which he was filming for a documentary. The group had crossed over into Ingushetia from the Pankisi gorge, a journey on foot through mountainous country of very significant physical […]

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Notes on Trieste

His favourite time was the winter. In summer the city was white hot and gay. Each morning it emptied out onto its slim pebble beaches, citizens crowding into buses and washing away like a tide. They carried swimming things and folding chairs and beds and umbrellas and they set up camp in the stands of […]

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His twenties

He stayed at the Safari Inn, where a bare, stone-floored room cost $3 per night. The Safari was scented with smoke from mosquito coils which were lit each night in the stair well and which in the morning had each expired to curls of ash. Breakfast (coffee, omelette, toast and fruit jam, a pink slice […]

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Swimming in India

I am in Goa, at a week-end meeting of the British Business Group in India (my firm has just opened an office in Mumbai). I had wanted to start the morning with a swim in the Arabian Sea, which is blood warm, but I was warned about the high levels of raw sewage, and the […]

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