Fed up with questions about what he was going to do when he retired, Edward decided to get on his bicycle and ride from Le Havre to the Mediterranean. He struggled in Normandy to get directions from old men tipsy on Calvados by 9 am, passed by prairies of corn and acres of sunflowers, and hit his stride on the towpath of the Burgundy canal. He explored the mystery of what an ouvrier eats for lunch, and was barred from a swimming pool because his trunks were too decent.
Through the Rhone and down to Provence and the Camargue, Enfield is witty and informative as always.
Loved it, witty , atmospheric, nostalgic. I particularly loved the narration which was faithful to the author's speaking style.
Enfield is an excellent writer. You may well have come across his short pieces in the Oldie. Not all good article writers transfer well to the longer form but Enfield does. Touring France by bicycle is an excellent subject for him. So why do I have some reservations?
Firstly, this took place a few years ago. When the franc was the currency and the Internet didn't exist. At one point he talks about wanting to carry a large Encyclopaedia with him. Well now you can :-) Not old enough to be nostalgic, just out of date.
Secondly, nothing much seems to have happened to him. There is a lot of padding in the book. He doesn't even finish his journey.
However, this is a very pleasant book and good for a long journey in the car.
Would you try another book written by Edward Enfield or narrated by Bill Wallis?
Bill Wallis tones are extremely soothing, I could literally fall asleep listening to his storing telling. I am not sure if its the story or the delivery but I am struggling to finish this book.
Would you recommend Downhill All the Way to your friends? Why or why not?
The story so far to Chapter 4 has been slightly entertaining but I'm finding it very slow, maybe this matches with the progress of the cyclist. The names of the various places visited are lost on me. I will continue to push on in hope of a improvement.