Now freelance, I covered the world for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday of London for more than 20 years. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, there are few conflict zones I have not seen, but there have been some lighter moments along the way as well.

Syria: the women who ‎ wait

Syrian peace talks come and go with no mention of the 100,000 civilians being held prisoner, some for years

Equatorial Guinea: Mark Thatcher and the dogs of war

Without doubt the creepiest, most corrupt country I have ever visited is Equatorial Guinea. I was reporting on the 2004 ‘Wonga coup’, in which Mark Thatcher and a bunch of white mercenary adventurers thought they could take the place over

Rich edged out by the rabble in St Tropez

My chagrin at having to chase a celebrity story was somewhat tempered by the fact that it meant spending a couple of late-summer days on the Côte d’Azur

Swat Valley: At the mercy of the militants

Mingora, in Pakistan’s Swat valley, was where the Taliban tried to kill the brave schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai. I found people terrified that the militants would come back, and almost as afraid of the government forces

Cocaine at Wimbledon? Surely not!

Every journalist has a favourite piece that never got into print: this is mine. I had a pleasant and interesting day in Wimbledon going from the Centre Court to the magistrate’s court, but my editor gave the space to a photograph instead …