Letter from the West Bank (Guardian Weekly)

This is (probably) my last post of 2011. It’s been an eventful year – uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East have brought many frustrations – but also new opportunities. As well as writing purely about travel I have branched out into more in-depth features: trying to tell the stories behind the news. One of the stories I heard is that of  an old Bedouin sheikh who I met in the desert, near Jerusalem in Palestine. He hosted me overnight in his goat-hair tent, and recounted memories from his childhood over sweet tea and bitter coffee. When he dies, a whole way of life will die with him, as the Bedouin are being ‘resettled’  – not only in Palestine, but throughout much of the Middle East. Here, in 500 words, is his story.

Sheikh Ishmael Ali al-Rashayda © Gail Simmons

Oxford City Guide (Daily Telegraph)

After spending the last few years writing (mostly) about the Middle East it was nice to be asked to write an online guide to somewhere a bit closer to home. In fact it is my home: Oxford. It was great to spend a few days revisiting places in the city I know so well, but as a tourist rather than as a resident. It felt like falling in love all over again. Here’s the result.

Bridge of Sighs, December 2010 © Gail Simmons