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We are on the mid­night plane to Ge­or­gia. In var­i­ous stages of ine­bri­a­tion, me and Dave

What­sApp this to our grown-up chil­dren. It’s not our fault. Noth­ing ever is. Our Ge­or­gian Air­ways flight, the last one out of Gatwick, is de­layed. What else is there to do but du­ti­ful duty free?

Dave is my com­padre, the finest trav­el­ling com­pan­ion a woman could wish for. The best thing about her is that she will go ab­so­lutely any­where but also has no idea where any­where is. Ex­cept France – which she has taken against to such an ex­tent that even French peo­ple speak­ing French near her makes her ex­tremely an­noyed. She can sniff out pre­ten­sion at 100km, not that she knows what a kilo­me­tre is. And God help any­one she calls “piss-el­e­gant”.

Suf­fice to say, when we ar­rive in Tbil­isi, I have to prod her awake and try to en­thuse her, though I feel very rough my­self. “All air­ports are the same. Why are we even here?” she asks.

We are in Ge­or­gia mostly, I re­mind her, be­cause she loves post-Soviet places and last year when I was in Ar­me­nia to

A lo­cal’s picks


This for­mer Soviet sewing fac­tory has been trans­formed into a mul­ti­func­tional space with cafes and bars, artists’ stu­dios and shops, a hos­tel, and a court­yard that hosts one-off events. It’s a great place to meet up with friends for the evening.

• fab­rikat­bil­

16th cen­tury, and a walk within these

Black Sea

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