Camber Sands, England
Zambezi River, Zambia
Le Touquet Paris-Plage, France
3 - 3
The title is inspired by a long running series of food and travel pieces I wrote for The Caterer & Hotelkeeper.
The launch of Granta 111, a humorous evening at the British Library with Salman Rushdie, A.L. Kennedy, Elizabeth McCracken, and Richard Russo, followed the Granta ‘Sex’ edition with the title, ‘Going Back’.
Sitting on the train later that evening, returning home, I considered the episode I would have penned, had I been fortunate enough to be invited to submit. I settled on a very long haul flight taken many winters and thousands of miles ago.
Flights of Fancy
"It must have been at the end of the 1970's; I was partner in an offshore company running small scale casino operations. Highly successful, but a year or two in and it was all becoming a bit mundane. I wanted more fun, broader horizons. So, on a quiet, rainy afternoon I dictated a sales letter and, with a secretary, began faxing it to random opportunities around the globe." more...
and others of the night
"Early mist rolling off the Channel envelopes the small seaside resort of Deal like a duvet would at day-break, on a well earned Sunday. Closing out all but the few feet ahead, soft noises approach on the concrete walkway and further out and down, the crunch of pebbles informs on life close to the water.
No words, but a low whistle in front coincides with the increase in, and speed of, the noise on the beach. As both end, they are replaced by the sound of heavy breathing. A black dog, wet and panting, pounces up in front of me and shaking is called to heel by his anoraked owner, both coming into my near sight at the same moment with sufficient surprise to cause me to check my step. I feel much as a smuggler might have 500 years previous, being confronted by a Revenue man. They pass with a growled apology." more...
"For this piece, the emphasis is less on travel; the bias being towards food. Not some dish stumbled upon deep in a chaotic multi aromatic souk or dug from an under-earth barbeque, carcass marinated, wrapped in huge leaves and slow cooked. But still, something that has an exotic basis and can form a drug-like habit with unpleasant consequences, if one were to spend a lifetime of over indulgence.
Now I would be the first to admit that my diet is not exemplary, but with a strong will I do make a serious effort. Last Christmas, my partner P and I received a gift voucher for a 'Special Day Event' and as with many vouchers it took longer to exchange than one normally envisages. Supermarket offers often do not surface in this house until long after the expiry date, then are scan-rejected by po-faced cashiers when presented." more...
Flights of fancy