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10 June 2006 

Author Chris Stewart shares some anecdotes about his sheep shearing and farming in the Granada area of Spain, his encounters with illegal migrants and his journey to Morocco to harvest the seeds of the Moroccan broom.

Sandi Toksvig is also joined by two people Ken Wood and Catherine Shrubshall who took journeys in which they retraced the steps of their fathers as they travelled around Europe - in one case during the Second World War and in the other almost exactly fifty years ago.

Presented by Sandi Toksvig

Able Seaman Alan Shrubshall 1956

This week's guests:

Chris Stewart is the author of Driving Over Lemons and its sequel A Parrot in the Pepper Tree both Radio 4 Books Of The Week.

His most recent book The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society recounts his first brush with African illegal immigrants.  Later he takes a walk with his friend Michael in the mountains to try and retrace the immigrants' route from the coast to the fields.  Eventually he goes to Morocco to harvest seeds and sees for himself the poverty the migrants are trying to escape.

Almond Blossom Appreciation Society
Publisher: Sort of Books
ISBN: 0954899504

A Parrot in the Pepper Tree
Publisher: Sort of Books
ISBN: 095352275X

Driving Over Lemons
Publisher: Sort of Books
ISBN: 0953522709

Ken Wood is interested in battlefields and war sites and often spends his holidays visiting them.  He has been to American civil war and South African Zulu war sites as well as many WW1 and WW2 in Europe.

Ken knew little about his father's war. Only that he was in tanks and that he'd fought in Normandy, North Africa and the Gothic line in Italy.  After his father had died Ken made some inquiries and asked to see the army's photos from WW2.  All the photos were contained in a box about twice the size of a shoe box.  Astonishingly Ken recognised his father in one of the photos with the 145 RAC.  He decided to follow his father's progress using the very detailed regimental diaries as a guide. 

Catherine Shrubshall is a musician; some time ago in her parents' house she found a diary written by her late father, Alan, recounting a trip he'd made when he'd been demobilised in Malta in 1956 after his national service.

Alan had been in the Royal Navy on HMS Surprise; Recorded in the captain's log was the Captain's decision to allow Alan and a friend to make their own way back to the UK.  It reads "April 12th 1956 - two ratings left the ship to hitchhike and walk back to the UK via Italy and the continent. Time to be deducted from their Foreign Service leave on reporting to the Commander RN Barracks Chatham."

Catherine retraced in her father's footsteps and is planning a multi media arts exhibition in December called Project Surprise to show the contrast between the two journeys 50 years apart. 

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Sandi ToksvigSandi Toksvig:
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Sandi has been travelling all her life more info

John McCarthy John McCarthy is a widely travelled journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the Middle East.
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