Death by cactus in Phoenix, Arizona

Our Apache tour guide, Grey Fox – six foot two in his snakeskin boots – knows how to capture the attention of a bunch of city slickers. After a quick warning about the rattlesnakes, tarantulas, black widow spiders and 33 different types of scorpion lurking in the desert scrub beyond, he announces, “And now for… Continue Reading


I didn’t do it! Being British in Boston

It doesn’t do to make too much of your British sensibilities in Boston, birthplace of the American Revolution. This is the place, remember, where they unceremoniously dumped British-shipped tea in the habour to protest against unfair taxation (how rude). Later, the local patriots ran the British out of town in 1776, and no one’s about… Continue Reading


On the Captain Cook trail – southern seas

Captain James Cook – England’s greatest ever navigator and explorer – is forever associated with the three extraordinary voyages he undertook to the Pacific between 1768 and 1779. Over the years, I’ve been following him around the world myself, from his birthplace and early years in northern England to the Hawaiian beach where he met… Continue Reading


Looking up in New York

I must have been to New York a dozen times, and if I have one piece of advice, it’s this – look up! Chicago might have something to say about it I suppose, but the New York skyline is a thing of rare beauty – a many-layered agglomeration of concrete, steel and glass that presents… Continue Reading


Among the volcanoes in Hawaii

The recent news stories about the volcanic eruptions on Hawaii’s Big Island brought back memories of a trip I made there back in 1992. “Come and see a volcano”, said Greg Ward, volcano fan and author of the Rough Guide to Hawaii. He neglected to mention that it was still erupting. Turns out that Kilauea… Continue Reading