My new book, Two Summers: Nixon, Trump and Greyhound Buses, is due to be published by Elbow on July 1, 2020. It tells the story of my two trips around America, 50 years apart (for full itinerary press here). How has bus travel changed, with the widespread use of electronic media? How has America changed, with its divisive President? How have I changed - and will my ageing body stand up to the adventure?
The first leg of the 2020 trip took me from New York down to Florida and across to Texas. Highlights included:
New York: going up Fifth Avenue and around Wall Street with a 1969 copy of the Michelin Green Guide in my hand (as I did in 1969) - and finding some new buildings;
Washington: revisiting areas that have recovered from the riots that left them ravaged when I first visited;
Roanoke: sampling the fare of an original diner during an unscheduled 7-hour delay;
New Orleans: seeing Fats Domino’s piano as upended by Katrina in the moving and thought-provoking exhibition on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath;
Houston: discovering in this high-flying town that what was once considered the eighth wonder of the world - the Astrodome - was now lying neglected and empty.
The second leg took me from Pasadena to Silicon Valley and Las Vegas then across the country and back to New York. The highlights included:
Pasadena: returning to the city where I first worked on a newspaper, to find the office turned into a cookery school - but the police force still happy to let me ride their cars;
San Jose: discovering new worlds in the city's tehnology museum and at the SIlicon Valley Gay Pride event;
Niagara Falls: riding the Maid of the Mist, discovering that oilskins had been replaced by plastic wrappers and that my 1969 diaries had played down the wetness of it all;
Boston: joining the young on their climate march and discovering the first shoots of a new. optimistic America;
The Catskills: America the beautiful, still.
'Beautifully written ... a rare good autobiography'
A cub on the moor: a short talk on life as a country reporter in the 1970s. Available for Rotary Clubs, Probus, U3A and other groups.
Winning the publications game: the groundbreaking book on writing scientific papers.