Hey - got a great new book out. The Woman Who Dared To Dare. It's a story of love and adventure. And swimming.
And it's also got my favourite love-nest on earth. That'd be a tree-house. In a Cedar of Lebanon.
And here's the Amazon link http://amzn.to/1ncG0sO
Any problems, any queries... then let me know!
For this last week, I have been writing about the Scottish referendum for Reuters.
A couple of days ago, I was asked to contribute to their Live Feed which would be running throughout the Referendum count.
But rather than just report the news, I decided to make a prediction.
As soon as the polls closed, I called the result of the referendum.
And guess what??
One man beats the computers! One man beats all the pundits and alll of those rinky-dink pollsters!
(And I not only called the result, I got the figures as well - 55-45!)
Ho-hum - another year of swimming, and another year of failing to swim the Hellespont. I don't know why but this Turkish strait is beginning to develop its own powerful Juju over me.
Anyway - not entirely my fault this year, but that's a fat lot of good. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
But although I may not have actually swum the Hellespont - I do know a fair bit about HOW to do it.
A little interview with me - from Platform Magazine in Nottingham. On hacks and phone hacking and the disaster that has engulfed News international...
Just in case you're ever asked on I'm a Celebrity... Here's how to win the show!
Ten sensational tips to become The Majesty of The Jungle
For any women out there who are searching for their dream guy... well maybe... just maybe... you're looking in the wrong place.
Here's how to find the blighters. (And good luck to you when you get him!)
Ten Sensational Tips on how to meet your dream man.
The Marathon des Sables - they only say it's the toughest foot-race on earth. Searing heat. Blisters the size of golf-balls. And sweating out water as fast as you can take it on board.
Here are my ten do's and don'ts for the MdS.
The first time in history that I have ever been described as "unique and charismatic"... An interview with Siren FM in Lincoln - 21st Nov, from 20 minutes in. I am suitably self-deprecatory...
Istanbul, dripping with sweat in the summer; I had just given a talk about the exotic world of the British media. The wheels had come off during the question and answer session.
I trudged out of the hall and Ali, an old colleague, slipped his arm through mine. He suggested we go for coffee. Ali had worked with me in London, though he had long ago left Fleet Street to become one of the richest men in Turkey. He was bald, plump, smooth. Even though English was his second language, he was the sharpest sub-editor I’d ever met.
We drank Turkish coffee in a cafe by the Aya Sophia.
“You should not end your talks with questions and answers,” he said. “You should end them with a story.”
“Audiences remember two things from a talk. They remember the peak, such as you have chosen to give them, and they remember the end. It is called “Peak-End” theory. It holds good for stand-up comedians and for politicians - and also for journalists in Istanbul.”
Now that Ali had pointed it out, it seemed blindingly obvious: the end point of a speech is a moment of great power. You should not let that moment fall to the last question in a Q&A.
“Any ideas about the story I should tell?”
“Ahh,” said Ali, leaning back and expansively tapping his fingers on his barrel chest. “That is something for you to decide. It has to be a story that resonates. And it has to be a story that is versatile. You will be giving many talks to many different types of audience. It must engage everyone from senior citizens to stripling students - and it must even hit the mark with sly-dog journalists who will one day dream of leaving Fleet Street.”
“You’ve got something up your sleeve,” I said. “I know you do.”
“Perhaps,” he said.
He took me to Topkapi Sarayi, which for over 400 years was the hub of the Ottoman Empire. From this Palace, the Ottoman Sultans ruled over a vast empire that stretched from Africa to the Black Sea and from Budapest to the Persian Gulf.
We ended up at the harem - the legendary private quarters where the Sultan’s wives and concubines and children were all kept locked away.
There was one section of the harem that was even more isolated. These were the Kafes, or Cages.
I walked into the Golden Cage of the Crown Prince. It is one of those rooms which, for no discernible reason, makes the hairs prickle at the nape of my neck. I knew nothing of the Cage, but I had a sense of the foaming madness that had once raged there.
Ali had been watching from the doorway. “Can you feel it?” he said.
Later, over a beer, he told me the story of Cage Life. It is a story of power; and sex; and murder; and a place that was, for a very short time, paradise on earth.
Ali’s tale made an extraordinary impression on me.
And this is how I now end all of my talks: with the story of Cage Life. For though it may be hundreds of years old, it is in fact all about us - like never before.