Monday, September 10, 2012

Notes From a Small Island

I am thoroughly enjoying Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. It is the laugh-out-loud tale of his wanderings around Great Britain. He uses mainly public transport - bus and train - and walks an inordinate number of miles. I am getting blisters just thinking of his poor feet.

The book was published in 1995 and I recognize some of the places he visits. Some I have never heard of and am constantly referring to a map to see where he is. Here is a bit toward the beginning of the book when he is tramping about in the south coast. A rant on sand:

Much as I admire sand's miraculous ability to be transformed into useful objects like glass and concrete, I am not a great fan of it in its natural state. To me, it is primarily a hostile barrier that stands in between a parking lot and water. It blows in your face, gets in your sandwiches, swallows vital objects like car keys and coins. In hot countries, it burns your feet and makes you go "Ooh! Ah!" and hop in the water in a fashion that people with better bodies find amusing. When you are wet, it adheres to you like stucco, and cannot be shifted with a fireman's hose. But -- and here's the strange thing -- the moment you step on a beach towel, climb into a car, or walk across a recently vacuumed carpet, it all falls off.

For days afterward  you tip astounding, mysteriously undiminishing piles of it onto the floor every time you take off your shoes and spray the vicinity with quantities more when you peel off your socks. Sand stays with you longer than many contagious diseases. And dogs use it as a lavatory. No, you may keep sand as far as I am concerned.

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