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Deskbound Traveller is taking a break

Normal service will resume as soon as possible.

Nappies on – and into space

Some time this year, Sir Richard Branson promises, tourists will start taking off in Virgin Galactic SpaceshipTwo. Having paid either £125,000 (the early bookers) or £155,000, they can expect a two-hour trip that includes five minutes of weightlessness. What they can’t expect, according to a revealing piece by Jon Ronson in Guardian Weekend, is anything in the way of in-flight services or even access to a lavatory. “Every passenger will be required to wear a special astronaut nappy, or maximum-absorbency garment, under his or her flight suit, which hasn’t yet been designed.”

Freight adventures

Within the space of four months, two writers who had run away to sea have returned home to launch a book each about container ships and the lives of those on board them. First there was Rose George, whose Deep Sea and Foreign Going has already been reviewed on Deskbound Traveller and serialised in the Telegraph Magazine. Next week, Chatto & Windus is due to publish Down to the Sea in Ships by Horatio Clare. Both writers travelled with Maersk, the largest container-shipping company in the world, so each presumably heard what the other was up to, though they don’t seem to have met. Both were a cause of puzzlement among the crew. “The seafarers thought I was crazy,” Clare recalls in a piece for the Financial Times. “‘Why are you here?’ they asked. ‘To see what your lives are like,’ I said, reluctant to admit the other reason. Since boyhood I had dreamt of setting sail on a ship bound for far away.”