Category Archives: Travel


I noticed today that I really love the smell of petrol stations. They remind me of road trips; of being abroad; specifically of the many dozens of foreign motorway services we’ve stopped at en route to Kosova, Ukraine, Albania, and all those places I love so much. Even a simple German autobahn stop can seem so exotic, with its slightly different architecture, range of products, brands, and attitudes. And when you start to get up into the Alps with the stations so precariously built out onto concrete stilts, or into Italy, where you pay for your food and then order it, the atmosphere just gets more and more special; and memory-jogging. It’s so strong an association that I even get the good feeling at the grotty old Asda pumps in Charlton. Actually, grottiness doesn’t make things any less exotic. Ukraine in particular is good at dusty and run down petrol stations, and I love them all the more. Especially the guys who fill up an entire convoy with diesel without turning off the pumps between vehicles — or putting out their fags, for that matter.