INTELLIGENT TRAVELLER It seemed to me that most of Syria had been visited, inhabited or invaded by Phoenicians and Egyptians, Romans, Mamluks and the Knights Templar. TE Lawrence, Agatha Christie and Roosevelt had all made pilgrimages; even the cheery folk from Mossad took time out to make a day trip and detonate a car bomb in Damascus on the day of my arrival. The pull of the place was undeniable.


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GUARDIAN Not everyone enjoys shopping, especially not blokes, and in particular not this bloke. That anyone can wring a scintilla of satisfaction from trawling around a store baffles me. But then I suffer from a rare congenital condition: I was born without a shopping gene. Or at least, I thought that was so. It seems that I’ve undergone a Damascene type conversion on the road to, er, Damascus. Continue reading