More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism, part 104

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, edited extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism’, is to be published March 1 next year, by Kennedy & Boyd, Glasgow, and available from

IT is but six or seven minutes to Kurumba Village, the very first resort developed in The Maldives in 1970.

We stay there for six nights as a guest of a man I had met the previous July: in Colombo when I spoke at – and gave away the prizes – at the annual prize-giving of the British School in Colombo.

I attended the event with some trepidation: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs having told me not to speak in public again.

But, I thought, what harm could there be in addressing a few hundred schoolchildren?

Afterwards, when I confessed to the chair of the school that I had never visited The Maldives, he promptly invited me to visit as his guest.

The constant demands on a journalist who must ever be available to cover any news that might break debarred me from immediately taking up his offer.

But the uncertainty over my visa and future gave me that window of opportunity to take him up on his offer.