For As Little As

pounds 155

art lovers can travel to Paris to see a major exhibition of works by Van Gogh and Millet, assembled from galleries and private collections throughout the world. This per-person price includes entry into the Musee d'Orsay, housed in the former Quai d'Orsay railway station on the Left Bank of the Seine, two nights' b&b accommodation (based on two sharing), return travel by Eurostar and fully comprehensive travel insurance. The exhibition starts on 17 September. VFB Holidays (tel: 01242 240 331).

pounds 179

aspiring Michael Owens can improve their skills at the Oasis Soccer Academy in Cumbria. This Umbro-sponsored academy is open to children (between 7 and 11 years) who are staying at the Oasis Forest Holiday Village and operates 3 hours daily. Children can book up to three sessions with qualified coaches and the offer is valid on all mid-week and weekend breaks until late October. The Oasis Lakeland Forest Village is set in 400 acres of woodland on the edge of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria. This price is for a family of four staying four nights mid-week in a two-bedroom waterside lodge. Oasis Forest Holiday Villages (tel: 0990 086000).

pounds 312

you can take a yachting break on the Norfolk Broads. Traditional-style sailing yachts, designed for speed and ease of handling, are available throughout the autumn. These vessels sleep from two to four people and have fully-equipped galleys, heating, showers and televisions. This price is valid from 19 September to 3 October. Norfolk Broads Direct (tel: 01692 670711).

pounds 535

per person, you can take a trip to Malaysia for The Commonwealth Games. During September and October, Qantas Holidays are offering a nine-night package to Kuala Lumpur and then on to either Langkawi Island off the west coast of the peninsular or Pinang a little further south. The first two nights are spent in Kuala Lumpur at the Ming Court Hotel before moving on to seven-nights at a b&b hotel in Pinang or seven nights' room-only accommodation in Langkawi. The price includes all accommodation, return flights from Heathrow and return domestic flights to each second destination, transfers and taxes. This is the first time that the Commonwealth Games are taking place in Asia and they will run through until 21 September. For more information on the games call the Malaysian Tourist Board on 0171-930 7932. Qantas Holidays (tel: 0990 673464).

pounds 598

you can take a week's unescorted walking tour of the Leutasch Valley in Austria. Stay in three- and four-star hotels (two with pools) and enjoy traditional Tyrolian cuisine. Travel from one hotel to the next will be with the help of walking notes and maps while your luggage is sent on ahead. The price per person includes one week's half-board accommodation (based on two sharing), six days' walking, maps, notes, rail, private transfers and return flights to Munich - and if the walking makes you thirsty you can always stop off for refreshments at the Munich beer festival between 18 September and 15 October. Inntravel (tel: 01653 628862)

pounds 795

per person, you can experience the wildlife of the remote Scottish islands, Islay and Jura, for eight days. Between the months of October and April more than 25,000 barnacle geese and Greenland white-fronted geese winter on Islay. The second destination, Jura, is the best place in Europe to observe otters. The departure date for this tour is 28 October and the price includes hotel accommodation, most meals and an expert naturalist guide. The tour departs form Glasgow. Naturetrek (tel: 01962 733051).

pounds 920

departing on 27 September, you can explore the amazing variety of scenery that Sri Lanka has to offer; mountains, rainforests, paddy fields, waterfalls, gorges, and beautiful beaches. This 15-day tour uses private mini buses and jeeps to take in ancient Buddhist cities, hill stations, the Yalla National Park and the idyllic beaches of Unawatuna. The cost per person includes return flights from London, transfers, transport, accommodation, breakfasts, a guide and driver. Exodus (tel: 0181 675 5550).

pounds 1,665

plus a pounds 500 kitty, you can take part in a seven-and-a-half-week epic journey through South America. This trip takes you from Santiago to Quito, across Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador with highlights including the Atacama Desert in Chile - the driest on Earth with no recorded rain in 400 years - Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, the Inca Trail in Peru, the lost City of Machu Picchu and a jungle trek through the Amazon basin. The tour departs from Santiago on 28 September and does not include return flights from the UK but ground travel, hotel and camping accommodation, all camp meals and the expertise of a tour leader and driver are covered. Flights can be arranged for an additional charge. Dragoman (tel: 01728 861 133).

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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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