The world is full of books and they are all set somewhere; let’s explore some of the places where our favourite book characters walked, fought, fell in love or made a fool of themselves.
Formby in Lancashire is famous for its beach, its sand dunes and its pine woods where you can still see the elusive red squirrel. (Shame about the Irish Sea.)
If you and I sat down to have a cup of coffee right now… well, to begin with, I’d be drinking lemon tea. And despite of all the interesting books that you think we could or should be talking about, chances are we’d end up talking about politics and football.
(Yeah, I know. It pretends to be a book blog.)
But we had a referendum last week and the UK decided to leave the EU. Simultaneously, we reached the knockout stage of the European Championship…
Today’s miscellany is a swindle… because the Spaniard’s Inn is not actually anywhere near the Mediterranean! The Spaniard’s Inn, in fact, is a pub in Hampstead Heath in London. Although, clearly, Spaniards are involved – which is my excuse for writing about it here. (That, and that it was passable weather today and I went to Hampstead Heath.)
Lord Street, in the small Victorian seaside town of Southport in Lancashire, has the airs and graces of Paris. Except that, if you’re to believe the locals, it’s the tree-lined avenues of Paris which have the airs and graces of Lord Street: the exiled Napoleon III lived here before he became king of France and afterwards he had Paris rebuilt in the same style. In any case, Lord Street is the main shopping street of Southport which you can’t avoid en route from the railway station to the pier (there’s a lovely stretch of sandy beach too although you’d have to question the sanity of anyone who wanted to go for a swim in the Irish Sea) and in between two bright and modern shops with their sparkling clean plate-glass windows, belonging to well-known chains, there is a narrow and uninspiring passageway.
Continued from: Upriver: Jerome K. Jerome Comes Out of the Woodwork
Sometime in January, I suggested to my family that we should go rowing up the Thames. À la Jerome K. Jerome. They didn’t take me seriously but I didn’t see why that should stop me. So a few weeks later, I was back on topic…
“We will need to get fit,” I said. It was a Saturday night and my husband and I were alone in the living room with a bottle of red. “We’ll need to practise.”
“Let’s row up the Thames.”
I said this towards the end of dinner sometime in January . “Like in Three Men in a Boat,” I specified, in case anyone around the dinner table was in the slightest doubt.
My husband gave me a wary look from the opposite end of the table. On my left, Sophisticated Young Lady tried (and failed) not to look immensely relieved that she was old enough to be excused family holidays. I can’t remember whether Young Friend of the Elephants was in favour or not. But either way, she got over-excited. She always gets over-excited.