Simon Calder

Sorry - I was just getting carried away by the current gushing glut of gratitude that seems to accompany every new travel book. The author of the new Cuba Handbook, Sarah Cameron, pays tribute to her daughters, Katie and Jenny, "for their tolerance, encouragement and complete conviction that Mummy's book is by far the best on Cuba".

Not wishing to venture too far along John Gummer and David Mellor's path of enlisting the support of one's offspring for the purpose of career advancement, I have been looking at the acknowledgements across a range of guidebooks. A surprising number read like the covers of Seventies' albums. For example, Mike Parker - one of the writers of the Rough Guide to Wales - offers "a huge diolch to Rhian Williams at the Wales Tourist Board", and thanks an intriguing list of individuals including Squidge, Dr Funkenstein and his co-author Paul Whitfield (the favour is not returned).

Across at Lonely Planet, the backscratching is mutual: one author of the guidebook to the Czech and Slovak Republics, John King, offers his co-author "mockrat dekuji to Richard for heroic work"; the response from Richard Nebesky is "last but not least, dik to John". Among this swath of acknowledgements I found myself wanting to find out more about the events leading up to the fulsome thanks paid to Michal Hnidka of the Vratna dolina Mountain Rescue Service.

A similarly intriguing incident is alluded to by James Henderson, author of the Cadogan Guide to the Caribbean and the Bahamas: "Thanks also to all those at Cadogan who pulled this edition together and were (more or less) unfazed by the author's sudden departure for another continent". Mr Henderson casts his net rather wider in his gratitude to others: "My thanks go to all West Indians".

My gratitude will be limitless to anyone who can come up with a more comprehensive list than my 1982 edition of Alternative London, whose first page begins "Compiled with the help of friends, file-spies, moles, insiders, survivors ..." and ends, after listing 70 other occupations, "... psychotherapists, philosophers". Not a word about children.

Finally, I'd like to thank my colleague, Harriet O'Brien, for attending the first-ever Virgin Atlantic Airways fear of flying course in Crawley last weekend, while I was otherwise engaged in the Colombian capital.

Some of the airlines around here take a rather different attitude to easing flyers' anxieties: in at the deep end. Looking at the accident statistics in this mountainous, stormy country, a fatalist might conclude that if you can survive a domestic flight here, you will be able to cope with aviation anywhere. You could call it a crash course.

The airlines here have even fewer frills than BA's new low-fare offshoot, Go - they don't even bother repainting their second-hand aircraft. I was alarmed to find that one scheduled aircraft on a domestic flight still bore the markings of a now-defunct British charter airline. The front cover of tickets issued by another carrier, Aces, bears a phone number and the invitation to call it to report "defectos de servicio". And the company ambitiously named Intercontinental promises it is the "Young Jet Airline", but I suspect that this doesn't refer to the DC-9 I flew on.

Thanks, anyway.

Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Such tweet sorrow: Will's gone digital
arts
News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
With Jo Joyner in 'Trying Again'
tvHe talks to Alice Jones on swapping politics for pillow talk
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Student
student
News
<b>Rebecca Adlington</b>
<br />This, the first British swimmer to win two
Olympic gold medals in 100 years, is the eversmiling
face of the athletes who will, we're
confident, make us all proud at London 2012
peopleRebecca Adlington on 'nose surgery'
Arts & Entertainment
tvJudge for yourself
Life & Style
tech
News
Tough call: is the psychological distress Trott is suffering an illness? (Getty)
healthJonathan Trott and the problems of describing mental illness
Life & Style
23 April 2014: Google marks St George's Day with a drawing depicting England's patron saint slaying a fire-breathing dragon
tech
Life & Style
On the dogwalk: a poodle on the runway during a Mulberry show in London
fashionThe duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
News
peopleEmma Appleton says photographer said he would shoot her for magazine if she slept with him
Extras
indybest
News
peopleRevealed: Goop.com's losses - and the pay rises
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Reception Teacher

£120 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Reception teacher required for an Outs...

DT Teacher - Food Technology

£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job We are currently recr...

KS1 Teacher

£120 per day: Randstad Education Luton: KS1 Teachers needed to work on supply ...

English Teacher

£120 - £140 per day + ?DOE: Randstad Education Maidstone: English Teacher Kent...

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents