SO, THERE I was, sitting down to breakfast in the Lido Restaurant of the signature class MS Nieuw Amsterdam cruise liner, while the 10 million acre Tongass rainforest slipped by outside.
IN SEPTEMBER 1981, when my daughter was just a few months old, I had a job interview in the downstairs bar of the Great Northern Hotel on Kings Cross Station.
THERE’S a lot of talk about algorithms these days - mainly in connection with internet search engines and software platforms like Facebook. But an algorithm is nothing more than a series of steps set up to solve a problem or to reach a particular outcome.
I WAS GIVEN another three notebooks for Christmas: a classic fiery orange Moleskine with elasticated binder and internal pocket; a beautiful little hand-designed and branded black notebook from a friend who runs a graphic design company in Berlin; and - from my daughter, Lucy - an American Rite in the Rain All-Weather Memo Book, originally designed for woodsmen in Tacoma, WA, and perfect for damp birding trips in the UK. That one is the colour of beech leaves in mid-summer.
WHEN I WAS just 17, Simon & Garfunkel released the album Bookends, which included the plaintive song of ageing Old Friends.
The first verse sets the scene. ‘Old friends sat on a park bench like bookends. A newspaper blown through the grass falls on the round toes of the high shoes of the old friends.’
IN THE END, it was Max who made it happen. I had spent four decades dreaming of a return to the Shetland Islands and had consistently failed to find a travelling companion until I mentioned it to Max one day over lunch. Within weeks, it was sorted - and then some.