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The Unusuals


Exploring the unexplored

THE PIRATES, MELIDONI

We cross a hill near Aghia Elessa then begin our descent into the unknown. There is a dirt track, rocks and stones and the sea. Nothing else. There are no houses, no roads, no telegraph poles. The hills rise up in the distance, the sea is an intense blue and there are no signs of…

Lady Ferrers

THE WICKED LADY FERRERS

Andrew Perry was furious. On one December morning in 1970, Perry, the owner of the only stable in the region that rented its horses out to holiday-goers, discovered that somebody had broken into his stable during the night, saddled his black horse and went riding with it, exhausting it to such an extent that when…

stone of scone-stone of destiny-England

THE STONE OF DESTINY

There is an object that goes by the name of the ‘stone of destiny’. It is a rather large, dark grey stone that has been carved into a block and has no ornamentation or inscription on it. It had been custom to use this stone during the coronation ceremonies of the old Kings of Scotland…

Guy Fawkes-House of parliament-London- England

THE MAN WHO WANTED TO BLOW UP THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

My number one hero is a man called Guy Fawkes. He was an Englishman who, at the start of the 17th century, quite simply wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, along with all the members and the king, present for the opening session. Alas, he failed, because the plot was revealed…

pekinois-british airways-

The dog and the British airways

During the 70’s, there was an Anglo-Saxon millionaire who split her time between London and New York. She was British Airways best client, the company coddled and pampered her to no end. One day, she called the airline and requested that they transport her dog, a tiny Pekinese, from London to New York.  She then…

THE LAST KING OF OUDH

In the 17th century, the English devised a rich and powerful kingdom, that of Oudh, around the lavish and marvellous capital of Lucknow, to counterbalance power relations, however weakened they had become, in the Great Moghol in Delhi. In the middle of the 19th century, the sovereign of Oudh was Wajid Ali Shah. He was…

THE VULTURES OF THE TOWERS OF SILENCE

Thousands of years ago, the Persians were of Zoroastrian confession. Founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in the 6th century B.C., this religion ‘of fire’ was in fact one of the first, if not the first, monotheist schools of thought in History. Later, the Muslim invasion and fanaticism forced an entire colony of Zoroastrians into exile….

MANDU THE SULTAN AND THE DANCER

Not far from Maheshwar, Mandu was the capital of a vast and extremely wealthy Islamic sultanate. In the 14th century, it was the biggest city in India with a million inhabitants. One of the sultans had returned from a trip to Africa with 150,000 baobab saplings. With their strange, unique forms, they still stand proudly…

TURTLES FROM THE GANGES

In order to reach Paradise, a deceased Indian must be burned on a log on the Ghats, and his/her ashes be thrown into the Ganges. The cadaver can also be thrown into the sacred river. Many decades ago, the Indian government had some trouble with this practice. It greatly harmed the tourism industry. In fact,…

THE QUEEN WHO HAD 92 TEMPLES

In the 17th century, powerful kingdoms appeared in the north-western part of India, arising out of the decadence of the Great Moghul Empire. Resourceful men had carved out these states which they governed with great efficiency. And so it was that the Kingdom of Indore came into being. A century later, the ruling Maharajah decided to…