#1 Spice

'Bring the flavour to the fish, Bring the flavour to the rice ... Number one spice' Queen of Katwe's soundtrack to Kampala, Uganda's vibrant capital, is a homily to the flavour-giving qualities of Lake Victoria salt. But the word 'spice' has a wholly different meaning in Northern British cities. This kind of spice adds flavour... Continue Reading →

Fragment

The aircraft lands at Algiers. Or does it? Perhaps it lands in Paris. Or Oran. I try and remember whether the plane rattles - The Air Algerie craft rattles down to earth, staff smiling, whereas Air France glides out of gritty Manchester and into stylish Paris with a haughtiness needlessly in excess of substance -... Continue Reading →

An awkward cigarette

'Tu fume?’ asks the waiter who served me breakfast. ‘Des fois’, I say. I don’t, really. Well, I do about once a month, as a social thing. Sometimes, especially abroad, smoking is a good way to build social connections. And with social connections comes knowledge. The waiter invites me outside. We stand facing the undulating... Continue Reading →

‘We eat nothing but sugar on Fridays’

It’s Friday morning - so the beginning of the Islamic week-end. The streets of Algiers are empty, and the architecture is mine to explore. But first, I need breakfast. Here the city’s repose is not on my side. Everything is closed, even along the capital’s historic shopping street: Rue Didouche Mourad. As I begin to... Continue Reading →

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