the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Travelling and writing

An interview with Allison Symes for Chandler’s Ford Today has me sharing stories about travelling overland on a converted Lodekka bus with Top Deck Travel in 1981.Group Shot at Winery Lyonn (2)

Find out how this journey links to the publication of Paisley Shirt here.


More from the overland

It’s funny how the publication and marketing of Paisley Shirt has brought back a range of memories. As the original paisley pattern came from Kashmir, I have been investigating ways to share the experience of travelling the overland with you. The journey I took was back in 1981 when I travelled from London to Kathmandu on a converted double decker. The buses called Snot and Tadpoles followed the route together and I am still in touch with friends I made during that trip.


Clouds on Dal Lake, Kashmir

Recently the courier on Tadpoles, Doug Foskett posted footage from the journey on Vimeo. You can see images from Kashmir in 1981 at 2:15 and I can be seen at 4:29 wearing denim dungarees. (We frequently had to walk during hazardous sections of the journey to lighten the load on the bus.)

If you’re planning to purchase a paperback copy of Paisley Shirt, I have recently been informed by Amazon that the expected dispatch dates has moved forward to between 7 and 30 March. Not too long to wait!






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Scenes from Kashmir

Following my recent discovery that paisley print pattern originates in Kashmir, I hunted out purchases I made while visiting the area in 1981. I was a passenger on a Top Deck overland trip from London to Kathmandu. We travelled on a converted Lodekka bus which had a kitchen area downstairs and sleeping accommodation up.

For the journey to Kashmir we took local transport and stayed in luxurious houseboats on Dal Lake in Srinagar.


My purchases from Kashmir include a carpet which sits in front of the hearth in our Dorset home. I paid a deposit and it was dispatched to my parents when they settled the balance and collected it after a wrangle with customs. (I was delightfully unaware of all this – having a fun time in Australia.)


A jacket, which I’m self-conscious of wearing due to the real fur trimming.


And a set of tables which travelled from Kashmir to Australia and then onto Papua New Guinea before furnishing various homes in the UK.


The carved finish of leaf patterns on these tables is close to being a paisley style pattern. Unlike Paisley Shirt my collection of short fiction, these are not available to purchase on Amazon! (If wishing to obtain my collection, please ignore the warning that the book is out of stock and place an order anyway – it will be sent to you given time.)

I never quite understood why I went on such a spending spree in Kashmir. I blame the tea which I now realise must have been laced with hash. You can find the low-down on the overland experience from Trevor Carroll in his book Crossing Continents with Top Deck.