As Ellie’s 50th birthday approaches and her ambitions of a steady income, a successful career and an ascent of Everest seem as far away as ever, she begins to doubt she’s capable of achieving anything at all. So when her best friend Mick suggests a gruelling cycle ride from Land’s End to John o’Groats, she takes up the challenge. They opt for the scenic route which takes them along cycle paths, towpaths and the back roads and byways of Britain, unable to resist sampling local beers in the pubs they pass along the way.
But as the pints start to stack up faster than the miles they’re putting under their tyres, Ellie wonders if they’ll ever make it to the finishing line....
©2012 Ellie Bennett (P)2012 Audible Ltd
"Nicola MacKenzie lends a variety of intonations - frustration, anger, and satisfaction - all of which pals Ellie and Mick encounter along the way. MacKenzie's voice keeps a steady pace along the duo's journey.... MacKenzie's narration matches both the eagerness and occasional tribulations the duo encounter." (AudioFile)
The cycling aspect is almost incidental to the content: Bennett is no Josie Dew nor Bettina Selby, though she's quite upfront about it. Instead, there's rather interesting travel narrative concerning the scenery of the areas she and Mick visit, as well as notes on the historical importance of many places. And then there's the pubs, mention of each one of the many they stopped at, and exactly which beers they quaffed. Regular entries along the lines of "Wolfsbane Corner has one pub, The Curious Cretin, where we dropped in after making dinner at the campground next door. They had offerings from the craft brewers Henchman & Son, so Mick enjoyed a Saucy Sally witbier, while I tried their Leering Lout stout; we agreed that mine was the better product ...." abound; I appreciated those items, but if you feel that sounds tedious, this ain't the book for you! I did have a little bit of trouble figuring out their relationship, which is implied to be travel buddies, nothing more. Bennett's writing was great in terms of balancing the serious nonfiction geographical aspects, and the self-deprecating humor of their mishaps. I'd look forward to raeding anything else she'd write. Nicola MacKenzie's narration made a perfect fit, as though it were Bennett herself speaking directly to the reader.
Listening to contemporary and historical fiction, mysteries/thrillers, and the occasional bio or memoir. Narration is key; nothing is more distracting than a poor telling of a good story! My rating scale: 5=Love It; 4 = Like It; 3 = It's Okay; 2 = Not So Good; 1 = Bad, Really Bad.
This is the story of a platonic couple who set off to cycle the length of Great Britain and succeeded in doing so. Each of their 32+ days is described and summarized, often with humorous bits and a little history thrown in. If you have a strong interest in Britain's many fine pubs and ales, and a somewhat lesser interest in the issues and perils and joys of cycling; this book will be of interest. Unfortunately, my primary interest was in cycling. . . thus I was ever so slightly disappointed in the absence of more on that topic. Great narration, I must say!
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