It was tremendous fun discussing with Ian Sanders of Cold War Conversations my years first as student in East Germany and the Soviet Union in 1971/72, and then covering the communist world for the next 20 years for Reuters and the BBC. Click the screenshots below for the recordings – first covering my student days […]Read More Reporting the Cold War for Reuters & BBC
I’m not quite sure how this post will unfold, other than to know that a) like my despatches from Beijing or the Cold War’s diplomatic frontline it will probably be too long, and that b) some old BBC friends and colleagues may already be sighing, “Oh dear, there he goes again.” Prompted by Fergal Keane […]Read More Aspergers
Anglo-German friendship on display at the Moehne dam of Dambusters fame. Rapidly repaired in 1943, by forced labour, following death of 1600 civilians (including 1000 Russians) in the 7-metre-high tsunami unleashed by the dam’s breach. With Dunkirk, one of the great WW2 myths that, all these years later, helped fuel Brexit. To whose supporters I […]Read More Germany’s Moehne Dam and Brexit…
Complete delight supping, stopping, tandeming, smiling at seriously real toy railways with old friends Günther and Irmgard Reichle in Menden on way home from the Danube. Old pictures of us cycling in Berlin 1980, then us today, then videos of Günther’s amazing train set in warm evening action. PS their tandem is the same Motobecane […]Read More Tandeming with Guenther and Irmgard, nearly 40 years on.
Great 1000-km tandem trip just concluded into Budapest from Regensburg, through 12 days of baking Central European heat down the shockingly dry and low Danube (climate change, anyone?) and with warmest thanks to stoker Jutta on the back and steed Daisy below. Both arriving in rudest of health, though one of the two did need […]Read More 1000km down the Danube
To say that Russia and the ex-Soviet space is complicated (think war journalist Arkady Babchenko, whose back-from-the-dead story unfolded during our spring 2018 trip here) is something of an understatement. As we’ve travelled (not by bike this time), we’ve of course been aware and on occasion reminded of unpleasant undercurrents that remain, both Soviet and […]Read More Musings on Russia, 45 years on.
Rather than posting the full story on Facebook, here’s the concluding exchange BBC’s response to my complaint last month over John Humphrys’ interview with Tony Blair over Brexit. First their response, then my response to their response, then my original (3rd in this series) complaint. 9 February 2018 Dear Mr Brayne, Today, Radio 4, 4 […]Read More BBC Response to my Complaint over Humphrys Today interview with Blair on Brexit
After three weeks on the road with Daisy our tandem, from Warsaw through Kaliningrad (didn’t see any Iskanders, but BIG Russian manoeuvres about to happen) and Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (saw three British NATO trucks, seriously intimidating if you’re a Russian), we’re almost there. Mileage to be confirmed, and a selection of Riga-Tallinn photos below, […]Read More Riga to Tallinn (almost) – five days and 466km
105 km yesterday from Koldava to Riga airport, whence we cheated and hired a car today to visit the fascinating former Soviet Cold War eavesdropping station at Irbene – once so secret that from its inception in the mid-60s right through to 1989, the Americans had no idea it was there. And yet, it was […]Read More Inside Soviet Spy Centre in Latvia.