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14 October 2006

SINGAPORE OVERLAND
Fifty years ago travelling overland from England to Singapore was a journey waiting to happen. Nowadays, because of the political situations in the countries in between, it is a trip that can no longer be done. But two expeditions did complete the journey in the nineteen fifties, one from London to Singapore in Land Rovers and, a couple of years later, a second in a Jeep in the other direction.

Roy Follows and Pat Murphy, members of each expedition talk to Shyama Perera about the difficulties and dangers of the travelling through bandit country, driving heavy vehicles over bridges designed for donkeys and through the already virtually closed country of Burma.

MARRIED TO A BEDOUIN
Shyama
also meets Marguerite van Geldermalsen and finds our how a traveller from one of the world’s youngest countries settles in a city ‘half as old as time’.


Presented by Shyama Perera

The great temple at Petra, Jordan


Photo: The great temple at Petra, Jordan

This week's guests:

Roy Follows and his friend Noel Dudgeon were in the Malay Police in the early 1950s. In 1957 Roy suggested to Noel to go back by car. They spent nine months planning the trip. They bought a fifteen year old WWII American Willys Jeep, took car spares and fuel and six weeks worth of food and set off. They camped by the side of the road, no hardship, as they were used to jungle fighting and to avoid being detected by bandits they often drove with the headlights off.

The thrills and dangers brought on by the weather, bandits, insurgents and punctures feature in Roy’s book Four Wheels and Frontiers – The First Overland.

Four Wheels and Frontiers - The first Overland
Publisher: Ulric Publishing
ISBN: 0953757781

In 1955 Pat Murphy was one of six young men who set off from London to Singapore in two land rovers in an attempt to be the first to travel the 12,000 mile journey overland. Their trip was called the Oxford Cambridge expedition and; the idea came from Adrian Cowell who had been involved with a similar trip trans-Africa a year or so before. Pat was the navigator and cook of the expedition. He later became a diplomat in Poland, Cambodia, Germany and Austria and then ran a volunteer organisation for retired experts.

First Overland: London-Singapore by Land Rover
by Tim Slessor
Publisher: Signal Books Ltd
ISBN: 1904955142

50th anniversary (March 2006) of the First Overland

Marguerite van Geldermalsen was a young New Zealander visiting the ancient sites in the Middle East when she fell in love with and married a Bedouin souvenir-seller from the ancient city of Petra. She went on to live with her husband raise their children in a cave in the extraordinary surroundings of the city of Petra in Jordan. Marguerite recounts her life changing journey in her book Married to a Bedouin.

Married to a Bedouin
Publisher: Virago Press
ISBN: 1844082199

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PRESENTER BIOGRAPHIES
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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