Friday, April 15, 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

Here's the thing about reading Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling: I was not only treated to a travelogue of his wanderings from the southern coast of England to the tip-top of Scotland with a little side trip through Wales, but also learned interesting tidbits about people I may never have heard of but in some way played an important part in British history.  

Perhaps best of all I get to laugh out loud at his all-too-spot-on rants about the ways of the modern world.

In The Road to Little Dribbling Mr. Bryson pays homage to his book about an earlier walking tour of England, Notes from a Small Island published in 1995, only this time he does more traveling by rental car and public transportation. He revisits some of his stopovers in Notes and finds himself in new places as well.

His journey takes him from the seaside town of Bognor Regis to the rugged Cape Wrath in the Scottish Highlands, with many stops in between.

Once again, I had to have a map handy to follow along as I did when I read Notes (which I wrote about here and here).

In a way it is a melancholy trip as he witnesses more and more change to the countryside and the towns. He bemoans the practice of tearing down perfectly serviceable buildings in urban centers to erect ugly creations of concrete and glass. And the towns that remain true to their architectural and historic heritage are so jam-packed with tourists and traffic that visiting there is quite the ordeal.

I am always happy to be in Mr. Bryson's company. If you have read anything by him, you know what a delightful experience his books can be. If you haven't read Notes from a Small Island I might suggest you read it first and then follow up with The Road to Little Dribbling.

Spoiler alert: There isn't really a town named Little Dribbling which is a shame. I was looking forward to arriving there, but, alas.


  1. But there is, to my delight, a town called Nether Wallop! I love how Bryson weaves together history, observation, and humor. I want to write more like he does! He remains one of my favorite authors.

    1. Kathy, check out the link of place names in Joan's reply below. I wonder if there is a list of funny places in America? I am sure there is. If not, let's start one.

      Yes, Mr. Bryson's books are value-added with all the history and humor. I would love to see him in person. That is on my bucket list.

  2. The book made me sad, although it made me laugh, too. There's so much destruction of beautiful things just because they're old and someone wants their name (can't fathom why) on what gets built next.
    There may not be a Little Dribbling, but there are plenty of other interesting and laughable names:

    1. I see the tearing down happening here all the time, Joan. I always think 'they' are erasing parts of my life.

      Thanks for the list of funny names. LOL. I especially like Inkpen, Wig Wig, and Hen Poo!