More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism, part 105

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

ON Monday morning, I decided to pay a visit to the British High Commission, just a few hundred metres down the road.

The tenuous nature of my presence in the country, and the requirement to attempt to get a visa for Sulee, required such a visit.

I gingerly made my way out of the building, abjuring use of the lift and sneaking around the back of the lift shaft and out through the rubbish yard at the back.

The deputy High Commissioner was visibly surprised to see me back.

He accepted my explanation that I had to return in an attempt to clear up personal and business matters but was clearly uneasy.

I expressed my disappointment at what I would describe as the ineffective nature of the protests lodged by the representatives of Her Majesty’s government.

He made his excuses: the whole matter was quite irreversible.

“Everything to do with your situation is being dealt with at Temple Trees across the road.”

He nodded out of his window to the landscaped grounds of the PM’s official residence, just 100 metres away. All approaches to the Foreign Ministry which the BHC had made had been futile. It was being dealt with at a rather higher level.

And it had got personal.