The voyage from the Port of London to Mombasa would take two weeks and on the way we were going to call in at Marseilles, Malta, Port Said, Suez, Port Sudan and Aden. Nowadays you can fly to Mombasa in a few hours and you stop nowhere and nothing is fabulous any more, but in 1938 a journey like that was full of stepping-stones and East Africa was a long way from home, especially if your contract with the Shell Company said that you were to stay out there for three years at a stretch. I was twenty-two when I left. I would be twenty-five before I saw my family again.
Roald Dahl in Going Solo – Dahl is a bit like your practical jokester uncle who smells like cigar smoke and whiskey and is sure to say something that makes everyone around the dinner table uncomfortable when telling one of his tall tales – but still fun to listen to every now and then.