THE BLUEST lakes in the world, the Buddhas of Bamiyan and a drive across Asia in an old Morris van all feature in a book by a Bridgefoot woman.
Permit to the Punjab, by Heather Bolton, is now on sale across Pakistan. It gives details of her near 40-year love affair with the country and a lifetime of friendship with a Muslim family.
Heather met Farooq, a Pakistani, in London in 1968 and struck up an immediate friendship.
The pair then set out on an epic voyage across Europe and West Asia in their reconditioned van.
The book chronicles the sights and sounds along the way including a visit to the Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, since destroyed by the Taliban.
She describes how Farooq?s family took her to their hearts and how Pakistan and the world has changed in the years between her first trip and her last in 2003.
She said: ?It was always my intention to write the book and I started it many times.
?I thought I had finished it in 1997, but after I recovered from an illness I visited Pakistan again in 2003 and decided I had to write about that final journey to bring it up-to-date.
?I enjoyed writing the book hugely and I would love to write more, but it is so difficult to find the time.?
She gave the finished manuscript to Ajaz Anwar, a Lahore college professor, who approached publishers. The Oxford University Press agreed to publish it.
Heather added: ?The book is a celebration of different worlds coming together in warmth and friendship, despite the contrast of culture, religion, the effect of wars and changing perceptions of Islam.
?Since my first visit, Pakistan has changed immensely, poverty is now more widespread and visible and pollution has increased massively.
?The government takes a difficult line because it is under pressure to be pro-Western, but that causes unrest with people there.
?In 1968 the world was a more optimistic place and it was easier to travel to these places. That has become much more difficult now.?
Permit to the Punjab, which includes black and white photographs taken by Heather, is available at Cockermouth?s New Bookshop and online.