Nikolai Rezanov

In a parallel universe somewhere, all Hollywood movies are made in Russian, the Beach Boys are called пляжные мальчики and the American Civil War pitted east against west rather than north against south. And all because their Nikolai Rezanov didn’t die prematurely of a fever.

Rezanov was born in St Petersburg in 1764 to an impoverished noble family, although he spent much of his early years in Eastern Siberia after his father was made chairman of the Province Court Civil Chamber in Irkutsk… Read more ›››

Carstairs and Lord Tod Wadley

As I mention above, some letters are getting harder than others to fill, so I am having to cheat on the letter Q by writing about Marion Barbara ‘Joe’ Carstairs, also know as the Queen of Whale Cay.

Carstairs was quite a character – wealthy and openly gay, she was at one time the fastest woman on water, while her closest confidant was a doll and her Queen title comes from one of several islands she bought… Read more ›››

Angkor’s Away

Thai Dancers

I read somewhere that jet lag is only a problem when you cross time zones from west to east, but that is just rubbish. We got home on Friday and my body clock is still ticking away on Thai time.

What with wonky biorhythms combined with a twenty degree drop in temperature and the usual post holiday malaise, it has been a depressing few days, but hopefully I’m coming out the other side… Read more ›››

Auguste Piccard was the perfect portrait of the potty professor with his six foot six gangly frame, bulging forehead, receding hair, white lab coat and round spectacles.

And he proved it too with inventions that set records for exploring both height and depth and by being the paradigm for two peerless fictional characters. I’ll bet you can guess at least one of them straight away… Read more ›››

Sunset at Ao Phrao

We are leaving Ko Samet today with many very fond memories, not least the trip round the island last evening and the picture postcard sunset at Ao Phroa.

That was after we has spent forty minutes or so snorkeling over the coral reef at the southern tip of the island, surrounded by fish of every colour of the rainbow who seemed as much interested in us as we were in them… Read more ›››

Expect the Unexpected


There must be something in the Thai air, or maybe the water, but Mrs P has been trying all sorts of things I would never have expected her to. Like parasailing.

Mrs P isn’t great on heights so when she said she’d booked to be towed behind a boat like a kite, well I had to tag along with my camera, but she loved it, as you can see, even taking time out to pose… Read more ›››

The Road to Defeat

Cart Boy

We spent most of our first day together in mini buses for the long drive across Thailand to the Aranyaprathet/Poipet border crossing that would take us into Cambodia.

Having a numb bum from prolonged coach travel was something we would get used to, but most of the rest stops on this occasion were spent preparing for the bureaucracy of getting from one country to another… Read more ›››

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