Death in the Marshes

Their bulky silhouettes sashay with a grace that belies their girth, a languid gait, and a regular routine that requires no guidance, the blue light gives way to hazy dawn, where the mist mixes with the smoke from clay ovens, and the boys are heading to the fields to work. Bubalus bubalis the beautiful Latin…

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In Search of a Smile

I was in the partial state of not knowing if I was awake or still dreaming; it had been another fitful uncomfortable night, mostly involving a donkey braying and the snores and snorting of Ibrahim, or, to be fair, that could also have been the donkey, either way, I was now fully aware that someone…

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At a Loss in the Land of Nimrod

The prostitute fidgeted uncomfortably beside me, her knee brushing mine, a glass of tea, and a cigarette in the same hand. The sound of the police radio a constant crackle of an unintelligible code, the chaotic room bathed in neon blue as another squad car passed the tiny window. I took another deep breath and…

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The Killing Fields

Stepping out of the minibus I staggered trying to stamp my feet on the side of the road, exhaust fumes and dust swirled as the bus left me, the four or was it five hours scrunched up at the back had cut the blood supply to my legs and now I was  stumbling like an…

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Cyanotypes & The Graves of Poets

Standing in the cold lifeless air of Westminster Abbey, surrounded by marble morbidity, the good and great and privileged interred at every turn, monarchs at the head of the table and poets consigned to a dim corner, and there, amid the flag stones of the nave lie the mortal remains of Charles Darwin, a three…

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Beirut: You Always Remember The First Time.

The Foreign Office advice was clear, do not go to Lebanon, and if it’s absolutely necessary then under no circumstances should you go to the Southern suburbs of Beirut, do not go to the South of the country and do not drink the contaminated water supply. Sitting in the cushioned back seat of a lime…

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Oman And The Turtle

A loggerhead turtle scampers frantically towards the sea, her cumbersome shell not designed for beach sprinting, the dawn light now illuminating the protective cove but it’s not only the light that has stirred her into such inelegant action so much as the camera-phone wielding tourists in hot pursuit; coming out at night to lay her…

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My Short Lived Career Smuggling Art

I’d been avoiding Ahmed all week; he needed to speak to me. I didn’t need to speak to him. If the shop was busy and he had customers I would be able to slip past without him seeing me, I hurried my pace; I risked a glance into the shop and couldn’t see him, then…

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Siwa, City of Sand

Maher shuffled his way into the coffee-shop sneezing, coughing and complaining, his flip-flops hardly lifting from the dusty floor as he moved, I’m sick he announced to the waiter who didn’t look away from the TV, he sneezed again to prove his point. In Egypt the cure for the common cold is Helba a herbal…

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Welcome to Vulture Town

It’s the land of Orpheus and serpents and dancing trees, and where the landscape has been carved by dragons

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