Posted 20 hours ago

Narrow Dog To Carcassonne

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The publisher also needs a review on how they choose books if this is the best they can come up with. All too often it reverts to Daily Mail stereotypes of aren't the French odd, do lets remember the war, bash the EU and complain about not getting beer in pint glasses. In the morning the secretary could not remember what had been decided, or indeed where he was, so to be on the safe side he chose the narrowest gauge mentioned in his notes, which was seven feet. This book tells how the author, his wife Monica and dog Jim took their narrow boat Phyllis May down the English canal system from Stone to the Thames, across the Channel, through the French, Belgium and then French again canal systems all the way to Carcassonne.

And next year when you go to France we will all put out to sea together, and sail across the Channel side by side. The hilarious and true story of two senior-citizens and their whippet dog who hatch, plan and carry out a “lunatic scheme” to sail from Stone in Staffordshire to Carcassonne in the South of France. It was a little difficult to keep up with the narrative at times because there was so much information and a labyrinth of digressions but what I did follow was enjoyable and at times quite amusing. You meet the French nobody meets – poets, captains, historians, drunks, bargees, men with guns, scholars, madmen – they all want to know the people on the painted boat and their narrow dog.They like running the towpaths and thieving off fishermen; but fire up the engine, cast off the ropes, and it's the eyes, the betrayed eyes.

The story of a man, his wife and his whippet who sail their narrowboat from the Midlands to the South of France including a Channel crossing would be interesting however written but the main selling point is the author's sense of humour. Then I strip naked, grease myself all over, and hang upside down among the ironmongery, grunting and cursing.

Like many Welshmen he is talkative and confiding, but ill at ease with practical matters and liable to linger in public houses. I know nothing about Terry Darlington, so I approached this book unaware of his life and the role in the advertising world that seemed to affect other readers. My darling won’t let me, but who will quench the fire of inspiration kindled amongst these fine pages.

You meet the French nobody meets – poets, captains, historians, drunks, bargees, men with guns, scholars, madmen – they all want to know the people on the painted boat and their narrow dog. Try reading Joyce if you want to complain about style - and he made it into the pantheon of scribblers! You know when you read a magazine interview and whoever wrote it down has had to put loads of brackets in, and chop up the sentences to get them to read as articulately as they originally sounded?I like the genre of travel writing because it really takes me away from the diurnal details of my life and make me dream of being in other places without the annoyances and irritations of actual travel so this was quite fun and even got me thinking about narrow boats in the future, though I might find negotiating and navigating the locks a bit difficult in practice. I could have had a dog that ate its dinner, a dog that barked and wagged its tail, a normal dog, a dog with fur. To be fair, the English have a different viewpoint than regular people, and this book was intended to be halfway about their dog, a whippet, which was taken on the journey - I had no interest in the dog after about the first 2 pages.

On the floor of the Star Inn Jim was fighting to push his entire body inside a bag of pork scratchings. A tale of travel, travail, dubious wine, a balky pump, and a boat built for only a few feet of water, this exuberantly inventive and hugely entertaining odyssey of the spirit, senses, and heart will enchant lovers of France, England, and all that lies between. Alas, my reader’s guilt won out and I decided to finish the book and hope beyond reason that it might have a spectacular ending. Having had quite a few narrow boat holidays on canals and enough inland sailing to be suitably terrified by the description of taking their narrow boat across the Chanel, I was able to enjoy the fears from an armchair.Before picking up Carcassone I was a bit worried by the negative reviews which focused on the writing style but having leapt gazelle-like over the very first place where ordinarily there should have been quote marks I gambolled on without further worry. The author is clearly extrovert, and maybe a bit of a drinker, eager to jump into someone elses boat and go on til the early hours. I was interested in the canal journey and parts made me laugh out loud but halfway through the book, it became repetitive particularly the descriptions of Jim the dog who has centre stage and as I am not a dog enthusiast just became tedious. We are experiencing delays with deliveries to many countries, but in most cases local services have now resumed. Terry Darlington has a fine line in self-deprecatory humour, a characteristic of English humour we're told, except Terry delights in his deprecation extending to everyone else who characters his writing!

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