Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Sluggish scribbles

June 5th, 2012

By late morning I’d drunk as much strong coffee as I’d felt I’d consumed wine late the previous evening. In truth, I hadn’t, largely due to an ingrained inability to consume more than a relatively meagre amount of alcohol without quickly ending up in a harmless sleep. But, all the same, I’d found myself steadily sipping from a large mug, rough in appearance but, thanks to a thick glaze, soft on the lips. Frequent top ups, as if fearful someone else might empty the pot, inadvertently depriving me of an elixir I so desperately needed. The cycle of sluggish scribbling on a note page in my diary, repeatedly shuffling back into the kitchen for more coffee, eventually broken by my friend’s suggestion of a walk around nearby lanes. The short loop he called it.

An otherwise reflective mood had been brightened by the late May sun, tainted a little by the unexpected but gentle humidity. We’d discussed my talk at length late the previous evening, and, much to my surprise, felt sure I remembered all that mattered, and had managed to capture the essence of it in my diary. Sufficient at least to be able to recreate those parts I’d need to refine. And so the conversation was soon drawn to the merits of a suggestion I’d made a few days earlier, that of recording one of our walks for broadcast on the local community station. A pilot I’d suggested, and it’d be next year, perhaps spring would be best? And we’d some experience of radio, as interview and interviewee whilst I’d be out on the road. Shame to let such skills wither, but rather adapt the format. This time I’d ask the questions.


On air with the BBC.. from Alaska

August 2nd, 2011

Ken chats once more with BBC Somerset presenter Emma Britton – click here to listen. Available via the BBC iPlayer until 8 August 2011. Interview airs about 2 hours 15 minutes into her morning show. Duration approximately 8 minutes.



Perfect medium

February 23rd, 2011

Fair to say I do like to chat. Once had a few stitches on my lip. Silenced for two whole days. Traumatic. Those around me seemed to take it pretty well. Very understanding. But now I’d been presented with the perfect medium. Talk radio. Surely it was Christmas…

radio - web

I’ve been invited to appear live on Mike "Locco" O’loughlin’s morning show at 4CA AM 846. Irresistible. Simply couldn’t say no. Another new experience. Besides, Locco has done some long-distance rides himself. So you can bet he’ll ask just how comfortable the saddle really is..

You can listen live online – from 10 pm UK time Thursday 25 February – at


Catching up…

December 20th, 2010

Deciphering dialing codes. Devising a few phonetic phrases in Mandarin. After all, what would she say when she’d ring through to the place I was staying? I’d primed the staff at the small hotel that I was expecting a call from the UK. Actually, I’d written on a scrap of paper – in Chinese characters – "2200 tonight – Emma Britton – telephone – Ken Roberts – Room 7017" – except our names. Far too difficult.

Bit rudimentary. But it worked. Probably helped by the fact that I’d be the only Westerner in town. Literally. A chance to catch up with Emma, host of BBC Somerset’s The Morning Show. It’d been over a year since we’d spoken. That’d been back in Taunton. Shortly before I’d set off. Amongst the things I’d taken along to the studio was a Christmas Pudding, my luxury item for devouring in Bulgaria. Long gone. But there was a Christmas Cake or two waiting in Hong Kong….

[To the surprise of many of his friends, Ken hates the sound of his own voice. And late-night – in China – radio interviews probably don’t find him at his best. But if you’re snowed in (and even if you’re not!) – and chances are you will be if you’re in the UK Europe – you could always listen to Emma’s show on the BBC iPlayer. 0900-1200 week days. White stuff permitting, the piece should be going out on air in the second half of the programme on Tuesday 21 December 2010. To listen live, or catch up a bit later, click on BBC Somerset iPlayer]


Welcome to Georgia

April 22nd, 2010

Interview at the border

It did seem a bit strange at the time, a cursory look at my passport, entry stamp, then beckoned by a border guard past all the cars being meticulously searched. It was as if I was expected. Which, it turned out later, I was.

Emerged from customs control to be greeted with Georgian wine, chocolates, local TV and radio. Bit of a surprise, but the interviews – in English I hasten to add – seemed to go well, especially given Emma and I had just sprinted over ten miles to reach the border on time, unexpectedly delayed by a puncture, the second in two days. But that was Turkey, and this was Georgia, and we were already captivated, intrigued by what lay ahead.

[Photograph courtesy of Merab Diasamidze, Batumi Business School, Republic of Georgia]

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