Report to the winston churchill memorial trust

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Life in Turf houses: Viking days in Iceland and Greenland 


All aboard! An Icelander explains that it’s easy to sail to America in a Viking ship 


Colonising peoples: an argument over sustainability 


Religious leanings: Erik’s dispute with his wife and its result in Viking heritage 


Conclusion: writer’s fever and the art of living it twice. 







Note on spelling: Icelandic uses certain letters which are unfamiliar in English and for 

ease of reading I have used English spellings throughout. I have made exceptions for a 

few Icelandic terms, which are italicised – in these cases the Icelandic letter ð is 

pronounced th, as in this.  


Acknowledgements: thanks to the WCMT and the Eranda Foundation for generous 

funding; Royal Arctic Line for hospitality at sea; all those I met during my Fellowship 

including particularly for this report Bjarni F Einarsson at Hólmur, Gunnar Marel 

Eggertsson in Keflavík, Jón Jónsson and Sigurður Atlason in Holmavík, staff at the 

Reykjavík 871± 2 exhibition, the family at Drangar, Ingibjörg Gisladottir at Qassiarsuk, 

Finn Lynge at Narsaq. Finally, a particularly key text has been W.Fitzhugh and E.Ward 

(eds.) 2000, Vikings – The North Atlantic Saga.



A foggy, windy day off the coast of north-west Iceland.  A small rubber boat is lowered 

slowly from the back of a ferry and two figures slip down into it, one confidently, one 

more cautiously.  The engine sputters and the dinghy shoots off across the bay, the 

second passenger clinging tightly to the side. 


She shivers, but looks ahead. Through the mist, the shoreline is becoming visible, muted 

greens and browns. There’s a wooden landing stage, a slippery slope of aged planks 

vanishing into the dark water. Three splashes of colour behind it morph into raincoated 

human figures.  The boat chugs to a halt: hands stretch out; the passenger grasps them 

and is helped ashore, careful of her footing, slowly making it to solid earth.  Words are 

exchanged, in Icelandic. The captain revs up the engine again: the boat moves off.   


Those left behind watch as the fog swallows it up.  The newcomer is the first to turn 

around.  What next?  Having reached this remote cove, what will she say to these people?  

She looks at their faces, weatherbeaten and cheery, wonders.   


Then a man walks by in bright orange raingear and the men’s faces break into smiles. “If 

you wait fifteen minutes and then follow him,” grins one, “ you will find a naked Viking 

in his bathtub.” 




I am following the journey of Erik the Red, the Viking explorer who – according to the 

Norse Sagas – was the first European in Greenland, a thousand years ago. Erik was – it is 

said – born in Norway, in Jaeren, the region around modern Stavanger. One day, his 

father was exiled for fighting, and he and Erik set out for Iceland. There was little choice 

of settling-place, so they colonised a remote bay in Iceland’s north-west fjords – this bay 

I have just discovered, today inhabited by raincoated Icelanders. 


But this is only the beginning of my, and of Erik’s journeys. I have followed him from 

Norway to Iceland, and now I plan to follow him further, going south again to the region 

where he lived as a married man. With his wife Thjodhild, Erik farmed here for a while, 

until he had a fight with a neighbour and had to move west.  It did no good: my next visit 

is set for the site of the parliament where, after further disagreements and skirmishes, 

Erik was eventually thrown out of Iceland. He then took to his boats and sailed off west, 

into the open ocean.  


I plan, unlike Erik, then to return to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, where are to be found 

some of the manuscripts which hold Erik’s story. After looking at these I will find a boat 

to take me further in his tracks, crossing the North Atlantic and entering the Davis Strait, 

exploring up and down the south-west coast of Greenland. 




I wait a little longer before visiting the bathtub, and find it empty – but genuinely a 

natural bath, warm water flowing into a hollow in the rock beneath the mist. My guides 

swear to me that it has been in use for hundreds of years, probably since Erik the Red 

himself sat in it, dreaming of voyages across the world. I warm my hands in the water 

before turning back, continuing my own quest to follow him across the northern oceans. 

Map sketching my route, 

approximately in Erik’s 

tracks. Erik’s own route is 

not precisely recorded, but 

areas associated with him 

are Jaeren (around 

Stavanger), NW Iceland, 

and other regions in its 

west, and the Nuuk and 

Qaqortoq regions in 



Map: Google Maps.  




The aims of my 2007 Churchill Fellowship were various. Primarily, I was following the 

route of a Viking explorer, investigating past and present so as to write the story of not 

one but two adventures on my return. I hoped this way to bring life to the story of Erik’s 

journey, which as told in the Sagas is minimal on detail of scenery and day-to-day life. 

Original readers (or tellers) of the Sagas would have understood these details 

automatically, but for a modern audience it is more difficult.  


But I did not only want to bring life to the Sagas. All stories are ‘tools to think with,’ 

providing a way to re-understand the world. Erik’s story can help bring into focus 

questions about colonising new lands – both about exploration and about sustainability – 

and about religion. Erik ultimately colonised Greenland, setting up a European farming 

lifestyle in the far North: how hard was that, and how were these Northern lands affected 

by an influx of Viking farmers? Erik was a stolid worshipper of the Norse gods at a time 

when Christianity was being introduced across Iceland and Greenland: why couldn’t 

those of the two faiths live together? And a final question: how important is Erik to 

Icelanders and Greenlanders today, and why? 


Any discussion of Erik the Red must be prefixed by a quibble: the man may not have 

existed. The sagas that describe him are stories of lives lived, battles fought, bodies raised 

from the dead, shipwrecks and one-legged monsters. Parts are clearly fiction, 

exaggeration, or confusion. But – traces of houses have been found where houses were 

described. Settlements are where, and when, settlements should be. Definitely, someone 

made each of these journeys – from Norway to Iceland and from Iceland to Greenland – 

at about the time Erik the Red is said to have lived. Quite possibly Erik is a historical 

figure.  Even if not, though: even if he is the purest of fiction, his story is so good – and 

has been told so often and for so many reasons – that it is worth a visit for its own sake. 


The final product of my Fellowship will be a travel book in which my and Erik’s story, 

and these and other debates, are mingled. At time of writing, the book is in draft form. 

The Report that follows is a taster: there is something about Viking daily life in Iceland 

and Greenland, something about making a voyage in a Viking boat, something about 

colonising new lands, something about religion and Viking heritage. To conclude, there 

is a section about writing: the strangeness of travel writing for me lies in the way it makes 

one live twice, once experiencing and once recording every significant event. 











Drangar, in north-west Iceland: the bay where 

Erik and his father are said to have settled. 

Life in Turf Houses: Viking days in Iceland  


Wind blows, hard, across the valley’s entrance, and the mountains rising around it are 

tall, wild, snowy. Way below them, bumping and lurching across the grass, is a rugged 

Landrover. It pulls to a halt. Fifty yards away, a patch of turf has been cut away, and a 

hole dug deep in the soil.  


A man and a woman step out of the vehicle, banging the doors behind them. He strides 

confidently: she follows close behind. When they reach the edge of the pit he gestures 

across it, pointing where the earth is slightly lighter, patterned in patches with blotchy 





Bjarni F Einarsson was showing me the ruins of turf walls, to the uninitiated no more 

than a pattern in the earth. We were at Hólmur, his excavation site near Höfn in southern 

Iceland. Turf is the perfect building medium for Iceland. Very insulating and widely 

available, it was the material of choice for Icelandic houses through most of Iceland’s 

history: only in the nineteenth century did Icelanders began importing wood from 

Norway for building. Erik’s house would certainly have been built from turf. 



Left to right: turf house at Eiríksstadir, nr. Budardalur; interior turf wall at the Sorcerer’s Cottage in 

Bjarnarfjordur, in the Westfjords; remains of a turf wall at Hólmur. 

The skills for building with turf survive – just. In Iceland there are reconstructed turf 

houses to visit: in one I sat comfortably on sheepskin rugs, trying out a sword for size, 

while in another I opened the door only to reel away as the scent of sheep overpowered 



An impressive amount is known about what went on inside these houses, gleaned from 

scraps and objects found on the floors. Typically, the building itself was long and narrow, 

with the back wall slightly curved outwards. The main door was towards one end, and 

beds (or benches) stretched along each long side. It’s thought that the family slept against 

one wall, and slaves against the opposite. Along the centre of the room was a stone 

hearth. Often these houses would have extensions, added over time, and outhouses with 

different functions. 


Fish-oil lamps and firelight lit the dark interior, where women spent many days spinning 

and weaving, making cloth from the sheep’s wool. It was this that kept everyone warm. 

The cloth was also used for making the sails of ships, and was so valuable it was used as 

currency. Inside the house too, food was prepared and eaten. In Iceland, fish, lamb and 

dairy products were the mainstay of settlers’ diets: grain cannot really be grown so there 

was little bread. What there was, was flat-bread, baked on the hearth. Birds and eggs 

were important too – puffins caught easily off the cliffs.  


Two Icelandic foodstuffs are especially worth mentioning: skyr and harðfiskur. The first 

is a cross between yoghourt and cream cheese: to make it, you make yoghourt from milk 

and then turn it into cheese by adding rennet. The result is white, thick and creamy, with 

flavours of both cheese and yoghourt. Today’s skyr comes in different flavours, 

blueberry, strawberry or vanilla, in little pots with spoons in the lids. In Erik’s day, skyr 

would have been stored in a barrel and served with honey or maybe even seaweed. 


The second, harðfiskur, is dried fish. In the supermarkets today, it comes packaged up 

like crisps: you can buy a wilder sort down by the harbour. A cynic would say it tasted 

like old fish, with the texture of disintegrating cardboard. With butter however, and eaten 

in the open air, the flavour has a little more richness... a little less fishiness... gourmets 

will declare one fish, catfish, especially delectable dried. A good thing I came to like it 

because amidst the many uncertainties about Erik, one thing is sure: anyone with any 

sense making a voyage from Iceland would have taken a lightweight, protein-rich and, er, 

yummy food like dried fish. 



Harðfiskur and skyr for sale in Iceland. 

All aboard! An Icelander explains that it’s easy to sail to America in a Viking ship 


A beach. A field ringed round with fencing, and in its centre a boat. A lonely figure 

approaches, feet crunching first on the lava pebbles that line the shore, then softly 

treading across the grass. She pauses, looks back at the ocean.  


Then she turns to the ship in its field and it is as if she has frozen time. Entirely still, she 

takes in its high prow, the long strips of oak that seem to reach from end to end, the tall 

mast reaching upwards to where clouds sit, covering the sky. 


Then a battered jeep rattles into the field, and the trance is broken.  




Gunnar Marel Eggertsson is the driver of the jeep: he is also a man who has sailed to 

America in a Viking boat. Actually, this is the least of his achievements: he has sailed as 

far as Rio de Janeiro, further than the Vikings are even rumoured to have made it.  


Gunnar Marel considers it his mission in life to prove that the Viking voyages of 

discovery – Erik’s amongst them – were really possible.  Íslendingur is the latest of his 

boats: she was built for the Millennium, arriving in New York a thousand years after the 

Gunnar Marel Eggertsson’s reconstruction 

of a Viking longship: she has sailed to 

America and back. 

first Viking boats, one captained by Erik’s son Leif, are said to have made the voyage to 

(more northerly) America.  


It is this sort of boat, explains Gunnar Marel, that made the voyages of discovery 

possible. She is stable and speedy – and capacious. It is thanks to this sort of boat that 

Iceland’s history began – thousands of emigrants from Scandinavian lands moving west 

to colonise the almost empty island, about twelve hundred years ago. 


All the wood in Íslendingur came from Norwegian forests, every piece chosen 

individually, each tree selected for the positioning of the knots in the wood.  Iceland does 

not have the forests for boat-building, nor is she likely to have had them in Erik’s day. So 

far, the construction process was similar to that which would have been used a thousand 

years ago. For the actual building, Gunnar Marel admits to using electric tools, but this 

added power to the process, rather than changing it fundamentally. Íslendingur took a 

year to construct. 


I ask how long it took to sail to Greenland, and on to America. I don’t know what answer 

I expect – a month? Three months? I am way over. It takes about a week to get to 

Greenland in a Viking boat, and a week more to get to New York.  


Gunnar Marel assures me that weather is only a little bit of a problem: you try to avoid 

the worst, like storms with twenty-metre waves. To put this in context, Íslendingur’s mast 

is about twenty metres high. Ice round the coast of Greenland can delay a journey even 

for a modern hulk. In winter the more northerly waters are frozen. In spring, drift ice and 

pieces from glaciers block the fjords to the south, sometimes so closely packed and so 

hard that a boat cannot move between the bergs.  


Erik would have faced more challenges than the need to build a boat and the prospect of 

bad weather and ice. In his day the compass had not been invented, let alone GPS. 

Navigation seems to have been by landmark: ancient sources describe – for instance – 

ships sailing past Iceland so as only to see the birds off the coast. But Gunnar Marel has 

an answer for this too. “It is just island hopping,” he explains. On a clear day, Iceland is 

visible from the Faroe Islands; Greenland is visible from the Westfjords, the part of 

Iceland where Erik and his father settled. Baffin Island, at the north of Canada, is visible 

from the west coast of Greenland. 


So it’s quite possible that Erik knew where he was going, when he set out to discover 

new land in his period of exile. His boat, skilfully constructed from specially selected 

woods, did not head entirely into the unknown.

Colonising peoples: an argument over sustainability and normality 


The sealskins are piled up around the outside of the room. Some retain their natural 

colours, soft browns and speckled. Others have been dyed, and gaudy colours glow. The 

guide lays her hand on one, stroking as she talks, explaining the different classes of fur, 

the different ways the skins can become damaged in preparation. And one other thing: 

that the whole animal was once eaten, but that now chicken wings, imported from 

Denmark, are cheaper than local seal meat. “It is a problem,” she says.  




Seals have been at the heart of Greenland’s economy for all its colonised history. To the 

traditional Thule Inuit


, who arrived in Greenland around the same time as Erik’s 

colonising group


, seals were vital. The skins were stretched over wood to make boats, 

became the walls of tents, were sewn together to make clothing worn fur-side-in in winter 

and fur-side-out in summer. The stomach was emptied, inflated and dried, used as a float, 

or used as a bag to contain preserved food. The meat was eaten, every part, fresh and 

dried. The blubber was used as fat and as candle-fat. Without seal, Thule lifestyles would 

have been very different – perhaps impossible.  



 Formerly known to Europeans as Eskimos 


 Well, within a few hundred years. 

Left: fjord in South Greenland. Right, traditional skin tent in 

Greenland’s National Museum, Nuuk. 


Such Norse


 buildings as have been excavated have yielded high numbers of seal-bones, 

suggesting that seal was an important element of diets.  But they were not everything. 

The Norse were not primarily hunters but sheep-farmers – and questions have been asked 

about how their farming activities changed Greenland’s landscape. The Norse settlement 

certainly affected the flora: even today, certain plants are found around Norse ruins that 

are found nowhere else in Greenland. Questions have also been asked about how much 

deforestation took place to create farmland. Trees do not easily grow back this far north – 

so was sheep-farming sustainable here, or did it just cause the land to erode faster once 

these largest plants had gone?  


Another debate in the scholarship is the degree to which the Norse were dependent on 

Europe. Certainly, there were many European habits that did not change – farming and 

hunting styles amongst them. For example, only certain sorts of seals’ bones have been 

found at Norse sites, suggesting that the inhabitants of the colonies Erik founded never 

learnt to hunt the seals with harpoons as Thule Inuit did but attacked those they found on 

land, clubbing them or netting them. The Norse inability to use a harpoon has even been 

cited as a reason for the eventual disappearance of the Norse colonies in Greenland. 

These vanished in the fifteenth century while Thule Inuit inhabitants survived: one 

difference between the two populations was hunting style. Perhaps the Norse lack of skill 

cut that group off from a key food supply, contributing to their demise.




Now, Greenland is a part of Denmark. Previously it was a colony, and populations of 

Danish and Thule origin have been sharing the Greenlandic landmass for centuries. To 

skip over hundreds of years of history, nowadays most food in Greenland is imported 

from Denmark. This is one effect of the movement of Greenland’s population into cities 

from isolated settlements, begun in the 1950s as part of a – now controversial – effort to 

give Greenlanders access to facilities that were standard in Europe. While the benefits of 



 In this context, this is a more appropriate term than Viking for settlers of Scandinavian 



 See T.McGovern, The Demise of the Norse, in W.Fitzhugh and E.Ward (eds.) 2000, 

Vikings – The North Atlantic Saga 

hospitals and schools cannot be denied, the changes caused turbulence amongst the 

population, social units thrown into confusion. Not all that was Greenlandic disappeared: 

the language was campaigned for and saved. But many traditional Greenlandic practices 

vanished, fast. To return to food, Greenlanders still eat seal – but less and less. They still 

use skins, but less and less. Chicken wings, and man-made fibres, are cheaper. European 

diets are becoming standard. 


One first reaction is: hooray! The seals are safe. But seals are not endangered along 

Greenland’s shores, so morally this is not the whole question. There are two others. One 

is about sustainability. Is it really better for the planet, or even for the planet’s animals, to 

eat factory-farmed birds that have been transported across the Atlantic than to eat locally-

caught seal? Wasting energy transporting food is bad for the planet: causing Greenlanders 

to be entirely dependent on food that simply cannot be produced in Greenland is bad for 



For many Greenlanders, chicken replacing seal is an imposition of European norms on a 

country where they are just not appropriate – which leads to the last question. What 

aspects of day-to-day life that we take for granted would others find bizarre? It can be 

taken further - what aspects of our life would others find as upsetting as we (or I) 

instinctively find hunting seals? It was normal for Norse to farm, for Thule to harpoon, 

for Danes to live in cities. Is normality anything more than a local invention? And what is 

the relationship between ‘normal’ and ‘sensible’ and ‘right’?





View across Greenland’s capital, 


Religious leanings: Erik’s dispute with his wife and its result in Viking heritage 


This time, the fjord is wide and bright, the sky royal blue, the sea pea-green, only the odd 

lump of white ice betraying its Greenlandic location. On the terrace of the youth hostel, a 

man lies stretched out in the sun.  


From its front door, two figures set out, chatting ladies in hiking boots. It is possible to 

overhear their conversation: one is an Italian cook, the other an English writer on the 

tracks of a Viking explorer. They talk about the others at the hostel: the Danish 

fishermen, the Japanese mother and son. They hurry: they are late. 


The road they are following is brick-red and winds along the side of the fjord, between 

the green fields and the few houses, over a bridge. Finally it climbs steeply, and the pair 

turn off it, towards a low wall with a high gate.  


On this wall, a lady sits, dressed in white: a long robe fastened with buckles at the 

shoulders, a Viking dress. The lady speaks: she starts to tell a story. 










View across the fjord at 

Qassiarsuk, the site generally 

identified as Brattahlid, where 

Erik settled in Greenland. 

The story told by Ingibjörg Gisladottir, storyteller, was about Erik the Red and his wife 

Thjodhild: this fjord was the site of Brattahlid, where Erik settled after colonising 

Greenland. Every summer, Ingibjörg works at the little church that has been 

reconstructed on this slope. This is one of the stories, from the Icelandic Sagas, that she 



When Erik came to Greenland, he worshipped the old Norse gods: Thor and Odin and all. 

But his son, Leif, went away as a young man to Norway and converted to Christianity. 

Leif then brought Christianity to Greenland, and his mother was one of the first to 

convert. Erik, however, loathed the new religion. He refused to countenance its presence 

in his house but he did – eventually – allow Thjodhild to build a small church, just out of 

sight of their home. 


The context of this is larger. In Iceland, in the year 1000, Christianity was officially 

adopted as the state religion. The decree was issued that it was impossible for two 

religions both to be official, though it was still allowed to practise pagan rites if nobody 

caught you. Erik had been in Greenland for fifteen years by then, but even in his time 

Christianity had been spreading through the land, challenging traditional beliefs. This 

was not merely a personal conflict: it reflected patterns of state politics. 







‘Thjodhild’s Church – 

reconstruction at Qassiarsuk, South 


In the 1960s, the walls and graveyard of a small church were discovered in this bay, and 

archaeologists identified it as Thjodhild’s church. (For the record, there are those who 

dispute this, and certainly no way to prove it beyond doubt.) In the year 2000, the church 

– alongside a Norse longhouse and a traditional Thule house – was reconstructed. The 

church is just larger than large enough to stand up in: it is lined with still-fresh pine, and a 

driftwood cross by Greenlandic artist Aka Høegh rests above the altar. The front wall, 

mostly door, is also pine. The other three walls (the ones which left traces in the earth) 

are turf, and a low turf wall surrounds the whole. 


Ingibjörg explains that most of the reconstruction is down to imagination. She also tells 

the tale of the church’s opening, which was attended by several bishops. Because in 

Erik’s day the Church had not yet split into East and West, and further into Russian and 

Greek, Protestant and Catholic, Quaker and Methodist, this little church is ancestor to all 

today’s Christian faiths. This bay was the most westerly outpost of Christianity, for a 

long time. 


So the result of a quarrel between Erik and his wife has come to symbolise the unity of 

the Christian faiths, and what they hold in common. It is not claimed that those of 

Christian faith were united in Erik’s day – there had been many disputes and heresies 

already. Religion in general was even further from united. But the choice of those who 

reconstructed the little church was to focus on unity, not dispute, similarity, not 

difference. The church is visited by people from all over the world.  


Pine-scented, the little chapel is a place of calm, a place to come to rest.

Conclusion: writer’s fever and the art of living it twice. 


She sits leaning against a stone, pad in hand, scribbling; she sits, cocooned in her 

sleeping bag, pencil moving, scribbling; she sits at table, menu pushed aside, eyes 

concentrated on the notebook, scribbling; she talks and questions and writes and writes; 

she pulls the pad out in the rain and scrawls until the paper is too wet to use; she chats 

casually to the driver of the car, catching his words as he speaks them; she turns the 

pages, sketches, writes panic lists of words that might describe a moment, writes and 

writes and writes… 


During my Churchill Fellowship my pencil and pad were never further than my 

knapsack, and my knapsack was never out of reach. Every day I spent hours writing: 

sudden minutes recording specific moments, long stretches remembering the events of an 



Two pieces of advice were invaluable to me: both came from the same article by William 

Dalrymple on the BBC website.


  The first: write constantly. The atmosphere is in the 

detail, not just the visual but the heard, tasted, touched and smelt. It is the shape of the 

tree on the horizon, or the scent of the fish in the harbour, that brings life to a scene. The 

second: record dialogue at once – it is almost impossible to remember. 


At one level, following this advice was easy: I could notice a detail, laugh at a 

conversation and reach for my pad. But sometimes pulling out a notebook was not 

appropriate: say, when the customs official was pulling objects out of my bag. Imagine it: 


Official: So, how long are you staying in Iceland? 

Me: Three weeks. 

Official: And do you have any alcohol in your bag? 



 Getting started in travel writing by W Dalrymple, retrieved 2006 from - unfortunately at time of writing this 

seems no longer to be available online. 

Me: No. 

Official: I need to search your bag. Please come through here. 

Me: OK. And do you mind if I pull out a notebook and write down everything you say? 

Official: Er – what?  Please open your bag. 

Me: Sorry, I’m still writing down what you said… what did you say? 

Official: Please stop writing and open your bag. 

Me: Hold on, hold on… you see, each time you say something I have to write it down… 


Even the obvious solution, a dictaphone, was not as good as a notebook – a dictaphone 

could not record gestures, or facial expressions, or my own internal responses. The 

solution proved to be a sort of very intense concentration, an attempt to learn by heart 

each scene, each moment of each day.  Taking photos helped too, allowing me to add in 

details that I had forgotten by the time I recorded the day. Collecting paraphernalia, 

leaflets and books so that solid information did not need to be recorded, meant that more 

effort could be expended on people and places. 


But the intense concentration on people added to my own self-consciousness. I noted how 

I reacted to people’s chance remarks, and how they reacted to mine, until I was nervous 

of speaking unless I had thought through my words thoroughly beforehand. I noted 

gestures until I was so aware of my own that I watched and censured every one. I became 

so aware of the world and of my own path through it that rather than watching through 

my own eyes, I often felt I was watching myself move, a small figure tracing a path 

across the planet’s surface. 


An intense process, to live life once with extreme concentration, and then a second time, 

internally, remembering every detail to record it. Slight madness? If so, it has faded for 

now. The first result of my Fellowship was two tightly-written notebooks of impressions, 

conversations, colours, scents and sounds. As can be seen from the four mini-essays that 

form this Report, my experiences were richly varied, full of stories, full of surprises.  


My Fellowship did not only teach me about writing, about Vikings or about Erik the Red, 

though it taught me much about all.  I had opportunities to see the world from the 

perspective of people entirely unlike myself – people who consider it easy to cross the 

Atlantic in a Viking ship; people who find it more natural to eat seal than to eat beef. And 

more than anything else I may pass on to peers, colleagues, readers – more than details of 

history or quirks of other cultures – I would hope that this consciousness of other ways of 

thinking, other normalities, other passions, will be what makes this Fellowship ‘of value 

to the UK’ as a Churchill Fellowship is intended to be. It has already made it invaluable 

to me. 


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