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  The Chatter Box : Messages from Michael
Feet Beginning to Itch Again by Michael Palin on 11 November 2005 4:38pm
Feet Beginning To Itch Again. A new message from Michael.

Rumours are already out concerning a new travel series. Although we're in only preparatory stages of early preparation which, if successful, could lead to full-time preparations for the preparation of a series, I'd hate to think you have to rely on the Daily Express for news of my travel plans, so here goes.

The BBC are very keen to do another series. The crew, though ageing rapidly (some of them are almost as old as me) are very keen to do another series, and my only reservation was that the success of Himalaya made it a hard act to follow, and there's no point doing another series unless your heart is really in it. Whatever they say, it's mind first and body second on these big projects.

We've come up with the possible - and I repeat possible as no definite decisions have been taken yet - idea of a journey through the New Europe. Those countries to the east that are part of our continent and yet about which we know very little. If our early researches prove fruitful we'd aim to set off on the road again sometime next year and to produce a book and a series for the Autumn of 2007. Watch this space !

Recently I had plans to travel with Basil Pao to China and Tibet, purely as a holiday and to accompany Bas who is taking photographs in preparation for his upcoming book on China. Those who might have read the account of my trip in the Times travel section on October 15th will know that some bronchial curse laid me low before leaving. I did get to see the Great Wall for the first time, and the Forbidden City and the grasslands of Manchuria - oh and the giant pandas at Chengdu - but was prevented from revisiting the magnificent Tibetan plateau on the orders of a Beijing doctor. Tibet, dusty and 4,500 metres above sea level, is probably the worst place in the world to recover from a persistent cough. A bit like going to Barbados to recover from sunburn.

So I returned home and, apart from a great 4-day visit to user-friendly Barcelona, I've remained happily home-bound, editing the first volume of my diaries for publication next autumn. With luck I shall be in the middle of a Slovakian forest when they're published, and out of range of any lawsuits !

One final thing. The problems of those affected by the Pakistan earthquake are actually increasing as winter makes movement from the remote mountain areas almost impossible. Help is still needed and yet the response has been far less than that for the tsunami. These are great, tough people who would not ask for charity, but many of whom will die without it. So, if like me, you feel a bond between yourself and the people of the Pakistan Himalaya, give now and, if you've already given, give again.

Sorry, one last thing from us Webmaster type folks. On a much lighter note. In his recent series, Michael Palin and the Mystery of Hammershoi, Michael mentioned the "Friends of Hammershoi" and, with many people having asked about the completely unofficial body, we'd like to gauge your response to such a group. If you'd like to join, just sign up in the Chatter Box, or simply read more from Michael on the topic from the Palin's Travels homepage .

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