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The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Tackling sand dunes and truckin’ on, Notebook

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Tackling sand dunes and truckin’ on

We’ve battled our way across a sand field in our trusty Land Rover Freelander support car to reach the end of the ninth stage.

By | Notebook | Wednesday, 15 January 2014 at 4:00 am

The secret history of cats, Notebook

The secret history of cats

Until recently, everyone agreed that domestic cats first appeared in ancient Egypt, about five thousand years ago. Then in 2007, a comparison of their DNA with that of wild cats from Europe, Asia and Africa indicated that domestication probably began much earlier, perhaps ten thousand years ago, when agriculture was just beginning.

By | Notebook | Tuesday, 14 January 2014 at 4:00 am

Rett Syndrome and me: Raising the game, Notebook

Rett Syndrome and me: Raising the game

As I stand and watch two grown men tighten straps, fasten belts and anchor harnesses to secure my daughter’s wheelchair into the adapted minibus now required to transport her to school, my stomach turns. It is not an unfamiliar sensation.

By | Notebook | Tuesday, 14 January 2014 at 2:00 am

Are rising rents stopping young people moving to cities?, Property

Are rising rents stopping young people moving to cities?

Plus, record levels of £5m+ homes, and should Help to Buy limit be reduced?

By | Property | Monday, 13 January 2014 at 3:10 pm

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: The noble art of co-driving, Notebook

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: The noble art of co-driving

As far as I can tell, it’s the driver who wins the Dakar. The co-driver, the hapless soul who’s spent hundreds of hours directing his charge, receives little recognition until things go wrong. Then, in adversity, they gain instant notoriety, which seems to me to be spectacularly unfair. This blog is therefore dedicated to the noble art of co-driving.

By | Notebook | Monday, 13 January 2014 at 4:00 am

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Rest day, Notebook

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Rest day

Today is officially rest day, although clearly not for hard working scribes or the Race2Recovery mechanics. After a week of intensive action, this is the day to repair, replace and cross check while the drivers remind themselves what sleep’s all about. It’s also a day to get clean. I had a proper shower last night for the first time in a week and after I’d cleansed myself, I had to clean the shower. Some might think that’s rugged and alpha male; others might just think it’s disgusting.

By | Notebook | Saturday, 11 January 2014 at 4:00 am

Are you afraid of the cold? Winter Wild Camping is the cure, Notebook

Are you afraid of the cold? Winter Wild Camping is the cure

In a fug after too many hours in centrally-heated, artificially-lit, torpor? My self-prescribed cure is to go wild camping.
Just me and the dog, no tent, pretty basic, to the windy, beautiful Gower peninsula in south Wales. I’ve slept without a tent before, but only in the summer, and not on my own. This was a step up.

By | Notebook | Friday, 10 January 2014 at 4:41 pm

New money for councils to tackle rogue landlords, Property

New money for councils to tackle rogue landlords

Plus, housing most important issue say Londoners, new highs for loans and house prices

By | Property | Friday, 10 January 2014 at 1:54 pm

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Everyone is utterly exhausted, Notebook

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Everyone is utterly exhausted

As I write these words I’m sat at the start of the second special stage in the leg from Chilecito to San Miguel de Tucumán. It’s 8.32pm and the sun is heading off for a G&T. In half-an-hour’s time it’ll be properly dark. We’re waiting for the Race2Recovery truck, which has been on the go since we left the bivouac together at 7.57 this morning.

By | Notebook | Friday, 10 January 2014 at 4:00 am

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Personal hygiene can wait, Notebook

The Dakar Rally with Race2Recovery: Personal hygiene can wait

Right now I’m veering towards the disgusting end of dirty. My arms have a bronze colour that might be a suntan or it might just be grit – I’ll have to wait for the rest day to know for sure. There are showers in the bivouac but they’re so densely populated with sweaty mankind as to be barely worth the bother. Even my toothbrush tastes funny.

By | Notebook | Thursday, 9 January 2014 at 4:00 am

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