Tag Archives: Travel

Mail Obsession

14 Aug

The best way to describe “Mail Obsession” by Mark Mason is that it is odd.

Mark Mason looked at Britain’s 124 postcodes and decided to visit as many as possible and relay interesting facts about them.

For me the most interesting fact was learning how the postcodes work. This year in London I stayed in a hotel next door to the one I’d stayed in last year. They had different postcodes. I discovered that the first half of the code is the area, the second the property. So quite literally every building in Britain has a different postcode!

Some of the facts were odd, some amusing, some triggered WTF moments.

If you like travel and trivia, this book is for you.

Highly recommended.

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Move Along, Please

21 Mar

There are books of grand epic adventures. Around the world in 80 days. Across the Gobi desert on a skateboard. Sailing the Atlantic in a bathtub.

This isn’t one of them.

“Move Along, Please” by Mark Mason is something much better. A journey achievable by any one of us.

He sets out to travel from Land’s End to John O’Groats using only local buses. He has a fine old time and encounters some interesting people along the way.

The book is peppered with interesting facts about people and places and makes what, on the face of it, is a fairly mundane journey, into something exciting and adventurous.

It’s also a look at the peculiar English trait of eccentricity.

A delightful, entertaining book for the armchair traveler in us all.

Highly recommended.

The Road To Little Dribbling

13 Dec

Bill Bryson is back doing what he is absolutely brilliant at, and that is writing travel books with real warmth and charm.  You can stick the Lonely Planet, I’d rather travel with one of Bryson’s enchanting tomes.

“The Road to Little Dribbling” is Bill Bryson exploring the United Kingdom twenty years after his book “Notes from a Small Island”.

His love for his adopted country shines through on every page.

The thing that makes Bryson’s travel books so special is his eye for minutiae.

The chapter on London was my favourite.  Oh how I would love to see Bill write a book simply about London.

If you love travel and you love the United Kingdom, this book is a must for you.

Highly recommended.

PS: Congratulations to Bill Bryson on becoming a British citizen.  Now can they please make his OBE a genuine one, not an honorary…and I think it’s about time he was elevated to the peerage for services the literature, and tourism.  Lord Bryson of Little Dribbling has an excellent ring to it.

The Geography of Bliss

27 May

I have to say that “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World” was one fantastically entertaining book.

Eric Weiner set out to visit the happiest places in the world (excluding Disneyland) with the guidance of scientific research to tell him where to go.

The places he visited were many and varied and not always places one would immediately connect with the concept of happiness, Iceland, for example.

Eric Weiner is given to much personal introspection which adds another dimension to the book.  This is not another facile “Been there; seen that” travelogue.

Usually when I read a travel book, I use it to travel vicariously.  To read about places that sound interesting, but I have no real interest or intention of ever visiting.  This time however, was different.  Eric Weiner’s descriptions of Iceland have left me with a desire to visit this interesting and intriguing country.

Well written, entertaining, and in many places deep and thoughtful, “The Geography Bliss” has much to offer the casual reader, as well as dedicated aficionados of travel writing.  Even those with an interest in psychology will find much of interest in the book.

I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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