Rows of jeans hanging above a Kolkata back-steet

Sunrise to sunset: walking Kolkata

Kolkata has been called a city of furious energy, the city of joy, a dying city. It is teeming, intense, broken and modern, old British empire and a stronghold of Bengali pride and culture. It’s crumbling and developing, wealthy and poor. It’s digested a tragic history but has a unique soul where it’s almost obligatory…

The officers who escaped from the Yozgad prisoner camp

Walking 450 miles to freedom

In 1918, my grandfather and seven other British officers escaped from a Turkish prisoner of war camp. That was the easy part. They then faced 450 miles of deadly heat, hostile terrain and trigger-happy brigands.

Rag-and-bone man with horse and cart

London, I remember: horses

Once, London was a city of horses. Humans lived cheek by jowl with the 300,000 horses of cabmen, traders, laundrymen, grocers and rag-and-bone men. You can see the traces of that time everywhere: old stone drinking troughs, hidden cobbled mews, mounting blocks, slips and ramps.