An Englishman Aboard - Charles Timoney
Road to Rouen - Ben Hatch
Travel writing can be very good and sometimes it can be self indulgent rubbish, in the past 10 days two titles about France have come my way - one from the library and one through a competition on Twitter.
Although I am only a little way into Road to Rouen so far both books are fun, enjoyable reads although very different. Both have made me want to visit France and to get off the beaten track once there...
Charles Timoney built a row boat to the amusement of his French friends who at a New Year party challenge him to circumnavigate the length of the Seine. He quickly realises that it won't be possible to do this in his rowboat and so we are spared long passages of him complaining about blisters and backache but rather have anecdotes on towns and villages near to the river, food and drink reviews of the areas travelled through and a few expeditions on the river in various crafts. Towards the end I got the feeling that he remembered that this was supposed to be about a boat on the river and not about all the other things and, for me, it petered out a little but on the whole it was a fun read.
Ben Hatch on the other hand is travelling around France with his family and on a mission to write a travel guide. He is trying hard to find things to review but travelling with young children isn't making this as easy as he'd hoped BUT is very entertaining to read from my (childfree) point of view.
I feel that parents will be nodding along and sympathising with Ben Hatch but I'm afraid I am just enjoying knowing that when we travel it can be spontaneous and that as long as Mr Norfolkbookworm and I have plenty to read and access to nice food we are easily amused.
A few other books have come in to the library for me that I can only borrow for a couple of weeks as there are long reservation lists on them so I shall only be dipping into Road to Rouen for the next few weeks but I know that I'll be looking forward to those moments!