Secrets of the sauna

The beautiful blonde lady who was my official guide on a tour of Finland had an idea, writes Robin Mead. “Now,” she said, “we will take off all our clothes and have a sauna.” The Finns often seem like a rather cold and emotionless people. Perhaps that is why they love saunas so much. And […]

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Visiting Russia’s Uncle Joe

The shoulders of the man who bears responsibility for the deaths of millions of people and the enslavement of millions more, are reassuringly narrow. He sits at his desk with his hands gripping the arms of his chair, as if trying to explain himself. Even though he is seated, it cannot hide the fact that, […]

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Somebody had to tell him where he went wrong….

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A Barbados mystery

On a headland above St Oistin’s Bay, on Barbados, stands one of the island’s oldest churches, and next to it – as you might expect – there is a cemetery. In the cemetery stands the great stone vault of one of the island’s leading families, the Chase family. It has been hollowed out of solid […]

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What the ell….?

If Scotland votes for independence in 2014, they will no longer have to use the old imperial measures forced upon them by the Act of Union 350 years ago.  They could even go back to the “ell” – the measure formerly used by Scottish merchants when cutting lengths of cloth, wood and the like. An […]

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Has my inside cabin got a balcony?

The social high spot of a cruising holiday is the captain’s cocktail party – an event at which every passenger is introduced to, and photographed with, the ship’s master and his senior officers. It is the ideal moment for a quick quip – but you must forgive the skipper if his smile is a little […]

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I knew it!

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Driving Britain’s highest road

Commute to work daily? Then spare a thought for Katie, who works in the kitchen of the Strathcarron Hotel, in Wester Ross, north-west Scotland, writes Robin Mead. Katie lives in the remote village of Applecross, about 25 miles from Strathcarron. But between home and job lies the highest road in Britain. One of the snags […]

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That’s entertainment!

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of an Elvis Presley fan, writes Robin Mead. If that means my musical tastes stopped developing half a century ago then so be it; just put me down as an incurable old rocker. And, if someone is going to ape either the mannerisms or the music of old […]

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Rock On, Gibraltar

Ask any British ship’s passenger to name their favourite cruising port of call, and the chances are that Gibraltar will be near, or more probably at, the top of the list, writes Robin Mead. It’s not hard to work out why. The 1,475ft monolith – one of the two ancient Pillars of Hercules guarding the […]

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