Destination of the week: the dark side of the earth
Total solar eclipses occur about once a year somewhere in the world. Six days from now, the sun will go out over parts of northern Canada, northern Russia, western Mongolia and China. Tours taking in the 1 August eclipse have been oversubscribed: "There are no more places available on this trip," says Brian McGee, director of the eclipse specialist Explorers Tours (0845 644 7090; www.explorers.co.uk), which is sending 300 people to a viewing site in China.
The eclipse of July 2009 will also pass over China – though not an area with a good chance of clear skies.
The 2010 solar eclipse looks a much better bet, with a high chance of clear skies – and an amazing destination in the line of totality: Easter Island.
Warning of the week: Pool safety
"More British children drown on holiday abroad than in Britain itself, most of them in swimming pools," warns the Swimming Teachers' Association (01922 645097; www.sta.co.uk). It has issued advice for parents to try to reduce the number of tragedies this summer: As soon as you arrive, inspect the location for potential hazards. It is not uncommon for a drowning to occur while both parents have been unloading the car or unpacking. Young children are attracted to water. Don't take your eyes off them for even one second if they are near water. Never accept the validity of pool depth markings – they are often wrong.
Bargain of the week: Docklands by bus
Visitors to the capital can take a cut-price bus trip around the regenerated Isle of Dogs in East London, and then travel back into the City on the top deck of a London bus – thanks to the new route 135. This double-decker runs every 10 minutes around the Isle of Dogs and then via Limehouse to Old Street in the City. The flat fare with an Oyster prepaid card (which every visitor to London should get) is 90p.