Travel writer Paul Theroux
Sian Williams and Richard Coles with traveller Paul Theroux, Lucinda Lambton at Heathrow, John McCarthy in Painswick and Jamie Cullum's Inheritance Tracks. There are stories from a mother whose husband is serving life for killing their children, the 105 year old author as well as the glory that is Coronation Chicken and your Thank Yous
Producer: Harry Parker.
STUDIO GUEST :: PAUL THEROUX
One of the world’s leading travel writers and novelists Paul Theroux joins Sian and Richard to talk about whether it is possible to travel to find past happiness and whether his latest book will be his last.
Listen to Paul's Inheritance Tracks
Listen to Paul on Open Book
Listen to Paul on Start the Week
Read more about Paul here
Photo by William Furniss 2007.
INHERITANCE TRACKS :: JAMIE CULLUM
DAY TRIP :: LUCINDA LAMBTON
TRAVEL :: PAINSWICK ROCOCO GARDEN WITH JOHN MCCARTHY
John McCarthy visits another rediscovered garden, Painswick in Gloucestershire, and talks to the director Paul Moir, head gardener Steve Quinton and maze designer Prof Angela Newing about the revival of Britain’s only surviving Rococo garden.
Learn more about Painswick Rococo Garden
105 YEAR OLD AUTHOR :: IDA AND ROSEMARY POLLOCK
At 105, Ida Pollock is thought to be the world’s oldest author of romantic fiction. She’s written 123 novels under 10 different pen names and book number 124 is on its way. Sian talks to Ida and her daughter Rosemary about a life of love and literature.
Read more about Ida
Photo: Ida reads to her daughter Rosemary in 1967 at a Grammer school.
WHEN A FATHER KILLS HIS CHILDREN :: JUNE THOMSON
In 2008 June Thomson, from Fife, returned home to find two of her children murdered. The man who killed them was their own father. June talks about her work to raise awareness of domestic violence, and the difficulties of rebuilding her life in the aftermath of such a terrible crime.
STUDIO PHOTO :: RICHARD, PAUL THEROUX, SIAN
BLOG :: SIAN RELAXES INTO CHAOS
For the first time in years, we went away for half term, so instead of negotiating the densely packed roads of Dorset, we're tried to learn the rather erratic, Italian way of driving, along the Amalfi coast. Every journey in our hire car was peppered with "Woah! Did you see that?" or "Those scooters! They come out of nowhere!". Learn to drive here, laughed one local and you can pretty much drive anywhere in the world.
Things seem so haphazard to a foreigner's eyes. Queuing for a ferry, we soon realised that, five minutes before departure, the locals would push to the front, ignoring the English tutting. Everyone got on the boat though, so does it matter? Much like the driving, after a while, it seems to work, in an "organic" way. Someone who's lived here for years said the reason behind the semi-organised chaos, is the Neapolitan belief that life should be embraced fully and heartily, as it might end at any moment. There's a legend that the poet Virgil placed an egg in the foundations of the castle in Naples. If the egg breaks, the castle and the city, will fall into the sea. Also, they said, if you live in the shadow of Vesuvius, just knowing one day it'll erupt again, changes your view of everything. As nothing is within our control, you may as well just go with the flow, as it were.
Understanding a different culture, even one as close as Italy, takes time. Our guest on Saturday Live is Paul Theroux, who's spent decades chronicling the lives of others, this time, on a different continent. He loves Africa; he lived there, married there, had his first child there, but even now, there's much of it he doesn't understand. Coming to the end of his journey, one that inspires equal feelings of hostility and happiness, he asks: What am I doing here? We'll ask him what the answer is, to that tricky one.
Also on the programme, Lucinda Lambton takes us on a tour of some of the buildings on the periphery of Heathrow airport; John McCarthy visits another rediscovered garden, Painswick in Gloucestershire; we hear from 105 year old author of romantic fiction, Ida Pollock; the tragic story of June Thomson, a mother whose husband is serving life for killing their children; and the Inheritance Tracks of Jamie Cullum.