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Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8,000-Mile Car Journey Around Britain [Kindle Edition]

Ben Hatch
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (580 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The number one non-fiction read that made John Cleese and Danny Wallace laugh and Terry Wogan and Richard Briers cry.

If you think writing a guidebook is easy, think again…

"‘Hurry up,’ I shout at Dinah, whilst on the overhead telly Ray Mears’ Survival is playing extraordinarily loudly because Charlie sat on the volume button of the remote. The kids writhe about in the V05 shampoo they just spilt, laughing as the last of their clean clothes bite the dust, and I’m thinking: ‘Survive driving round England with two under 4s, staying at a different hotel each night and visiting four or five attractions a day and sometimes a restaurant in the evening. Sleep all in the same room, go to bed at 7 p.m. after having had no evening to yourself, wake up at 7 a.m. and do it all again the next day with the prospect of another 140 nights of the same – then come and tell me about survival in your khaki ****ing shorts, Ray.’"

They were bored, broke, burned out and turning 40. So when Ben and his wife Dinah were approached to write a guidebook about family travel, they embraced the open road, ignoring friends’ warnings: 'One of you will come back chopped up in a bin bag in the roof box.'

Featuring deadly puff adders, Billie Piper’s pyjamas and a friend of Hitler’s, it’s a story about love, death, falling out, moving on and growing up, and 8,000 misguided miles in a Vauxhall Astra.

Product Description


'disastrous five-month trip around Britain with two small children. The object... to write a travel guide.' -- The Bookseller, 29th April 2011

'mad-cap five-month tour of Britain... it turns out not to be quite the odyssey they had expected.' -- The Bookseller, 13th May 2011

"Ben Hatch makes me laugh." -- John Cleese

"A voyage of pain, suffering, argument, baby wipes, discovery and utter delight...Never travel in a car with children without this book by your side." -- Sir Terry Wogan

"A funny, touching cross country jaunt that's as much about being a kid as it is about being a grown up." --
Danny Wallace

“A wonderful book - hilarious and moving, all at the same time. Highly recommended for anyone with a family, a car or a sense of humour." -- Sophie Kinsella

“This is about a living, loving, occasionally quarrelsome but clearly very happy marriage and it felt curiously life-affirming to read about it. It’s very warts and all, extremely funny, very human and very sad. If you liked One Day or just like good books in general, don’t let this one pass you by.” --
Jenny Colgan

"Funny, touching and so, so, true to life. The must read of the year!" --
Mike Gayle

"Refreshing, insightful, very funny." --
Joanne Harris

"A wonderful book. Terribly moving and so so funny." --
Richard Briers

"Brilliant. Outnumbered in a car. I absolutely loved it. Funny, honest and moving." --
Tim Brooke-Taylor

“Very funny and equally moving. Ben Hatch is one of my favourite writers.”
-- Lisa Jewell

"If you're dreading a weekend car trip with small children this book can't fail t`o cheer you up." --
The Mirror

"Hatch humorously recounts his 8000 mile odyssey round Britain with his wife and two small children." --
The Times

From the Author

How my wife and I came to argue over which was the better owl - barn or tawny. How you change a nappy using nothing but a KFC Lemonfresh wipe. How to cope with a tortoise-phobic wife who drives like Mr Magoo. How to steal hotel buffet breakfasts and turn them into lunch. What to do when your trousers are so crusty with dirt you do not so much take them off at night as ....lean them up against things. How to cope with a car crash, a kidney stone, a nature wee in field of live ordnance, bat attacks and confrontations with puff adders, a Nazi and Billie Pipper's pyjamas. This is the story of how my family survived 8000 miles in a Vauxhall Astra.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1771 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd (19 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005K15D4W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (580 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Ben Hatch's latest novel is called THE P45 DIARIES: How To Get Sacked From Every Job in Britain. Currently being developed as a BBC sitcom, and a former BBC Radio 4 Book of The Year, it was previously titled The Lawnmower Celebrity and is based loosely on Ben's woeful experiences of his teens and 20s when his dad thought he was an oaf.
Ben was born in London and grew up there, in Manchester and also in Buckinghamshire, where he lived in a windmill that meant he was called Windy Miller at school for years, though he's not been scarred by this experience at all. He now lives in Brighton with his tiny wife Dinah, and two children, in a normal house. He likes cheese and is balding although he disguises this fact by spiking his hair to a great height to distract people he wishes to impress.
Ben (who is actually writing this and pretending to be someone else)has written for The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express among other newspapers. Previously he wrote ROAD TO ROUEN: A 10,000 Mile Journey In A Cheese-filled Passat that was a Number One bestseller and ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET? 8,000 Miles Round Britain In A Vauxhall Astra, a BBC Radio 2 Book of the Year, and also a Number One bestseller. It is also under development as a film by Island Pictures.
Ben is the tallest Hatch who ever lived (5ft 9in) and is the son of Sir David Hatch, the radio performer and producer whose shadow Ben doesn't at all feel under. He also maintains that he knows the cure for the common cold (tweet him at @BenHatch to find this out) and that one of his relatives was John Couch-Adams who discovered the planet Neptune. Apparently, his aunty told him.

Many years ago his novel the International Gooseberry was published by Orion. It was about a hapless backpacker with a huge ungovernable toenail. It was described as "hysterical and surprisingly sad" by the Daily Express. Ben Hatch was on the long-list of Granta's 2003 list of the most promising 20 young authors in the UK, but missed out on final inclusion possibly because of the toenail stuff. In association with his wife Dinah, he has also written three guidebooks for Frommer's.

You can visit Ben Hatch at although his page is a bit rubbish.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprise of a book 19 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've never read anything like this before, didn't think I would, but having been tweeted into submission I duly clicked and bought. Money very well spent as it turned out.
The passages about the attractions themselves are full of dry humour as well as being interesting and informative, but this book is essentially a privileged glimpse into the very personal world of one family. As their journey round Britain pans out, we see them at their lowest points as well as their highest. The funny bits are laugh-out-loud, the sad bits bring a tear to the eye, and all of it is truly memorable.
I think what makes this story special is the emotional truth with which it is told. A lovely read, and one with universal appeal.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The UK's Bill Bryson 2 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I normally read quite heavy books, but when I heard about this book via Twitter - where I have found other hidden gems, incidentally - I bought it. I was far from disappointed.

From the start, I literally laughed out loud, and continued to do so all the way through (and getting very strange looks from people in my vicinity if I was reading it in public). The concept of spending five months travelling around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra with two small children sounds quite mad - but lends itself perfectly to a series of hilarious events, the children providing a great deal of these of course. Whether you have children or not, you will in turn sympathise with, and laugh at, Ben and Dinah's efforts to keep the peace (and what is left of their sanity) during their travels.

However, there is a background story in the book involving Ben's father, and Ben somehow manages to retain his customary humour whilst dealing with such a dreadful time in his life.

I also enjoyed the interaction between the family members, and felt like I sort of knew them by the end of the book - and really want to know what happened afterwards!

It is a very human book in every way, there are ups and downs all the way through, but all in all I believe anyone with a sense of humour, and who can laugh at life will absolutely love this book. I highly recommend it, cannot wait to read more from Ben Hatch (a sequel, perhaps...?). And he made John Cleese laugh you know. Want a better recommendation?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it but something is nagging away at me 8 Jan. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Ben's writing is excellent. This book is funny and poignant and the event of his father's death was so, so moving. So moving in fact, I cried as I read it.


Something about this struck me as anachronistic and has been nagging away at me. With Ben's father such a well known figure, it is well established that he died in 2007. And yet, he has a 4 year old son. I know this because I have seen an article written by Ben on the Telegraph website when he was doing Scotland in 2008 and his son was only 8 weeks old. This means his son was not alive when his father died. And therefore a good chunk of this book never actually happened. Other cultural references suggest that this took place much later than 2007 - iPhones were not commonplace in 2007, his wife watches What Katie Did Next which didn't screen until 2009 nor was Wi-fi that common back then either.

Knowing these things makes me query the whole basis of the book. The main theme is their trip set against the background of his father's illness and subsequent demise yet it is unlikely that they were actually travelling when he died. This makes me wonder why you would write about something so personal as a death of your parent and basically lie about it, all in the name of selling books. That doesn't sit right with me and has spoiled my enjoyment of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are We Nearly There Yet? 20 Nov. 2011
By Kizzi
Format:Kindle Edition
Are We Nearly There Yet?: A Family's 8000 Miles Around Britain in a Vauxhall Astra

How many times have parents of young children heard these words uttered by their offspring? The shortest of car journeys can be a uphill task . An 8000 mile trip, seems near on impossible.
Ben and Dinah Hatch take on what would appear to be an impossible mission. Just loading the car for the trip left me exhausted!

The book tells the story of the family's trip around Britain. As you can imagine, it is not all plain sailing. Obstacles are sent to test them along the way, the car being written off and kidney stones to name a few, but they carry on regardless. One word of warning. Be careful when reading this book. If reading it in a public place just be mindful of the stares you are going to get when you can not stop laughing.

The children themselves are a tonic in this book. The simplest of things amuse, especially the Poo Museum, Leicester's very own Abbey Pumping Station.

Ben also writes about his father, David and his battle with cancer. This is never an easy subject to write about with humour and be sensitive at the same time.

Please don't expect to borrow my copy of this book. I want to keep it for myself as it is a book that needs to be re read again and again. I don't want to spoilt the surprise for my family and friends, but come December 25th , they will all be receiving this book in their Christmas stocking.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous 21 Oct. 2011
By Lucy L
You should read this lovely book. Seamlessly slipping across genre boundaries, it is a memoir about family life, disguised as a travel book, that reads like a novel. It is about all the big things in life - family, identity, love and death. But the travel book structure enables it to escape from the usual formulas. It doesn't need the 'big plot', the inevitable 'twist'. It just unfolds effortlessly, and its very refreshing.

The book is laugh-out-loud funny in several places. My absolute favourite was the puff adders and the slippers in bed. Anyone with kids will relate to to this.

The book has a serious side, too. I would normally put a book down if the back cover said that it followed the process of somebody dying of cancer... I'm too easily upset by that sort of thing. But I went along with this one, and I'm glad I did. Yes, the death of the author's father - Sir David Hatch - was very sad, and yes it made me cry, but what came through most was the warmth within that family. The book is full of energy and fun and optimism and life, and saying goodbye to the father is an inextricable part of that life.

The book reminds me of Nick Hornby, David Nicholls, and Tony Parsons' wonderful "Man and Boy", but it is not derivative of these. It is completely original, deserving to be read for its own unique qualities. Somehow, the cross-genre aspect frees it up to be all about the characters. So, although on the face of it, it's about the journey round Britain, the places the family visits, it is actually a love story about these wonderful characters; David, Dinah and the gorgeous Phoebe and Charlie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Hugely disappointing and not funny.
I rarely give up on a book but I had to concede defeat - it is awful on most levels. The family are ungrateful for all the surprising amount of freebies they've been lucky enough... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mr. J. F. Grant
2.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't actually finish this book! I found it ...
I couldn't actually finish this book! I found it rather boaring and rather repeditive. Probably it would appeal to the same gereration of young people who are experiencing the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Dicky
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Most enjoyable read
Published 2 days ago by Maureen McCormack
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable read...
Just finished this read and have to say it is really very good. It is, as other reviewers have suggested, a cross between a well written travel book and close family memoirs and... Read more
Published 3 days ago by J. Davis
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow journey
Although Ben's exploration of his relationship with his father was delightful / emotional / thought-provoking, I found the commentary about the attractions almost unnecessary, just... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Elise Anne
5.0 out of 5 stars We're all the same!
I loved this book! I thought it was very well written and really funny. Well done to Dinah and the kids! Read more
Published 5 days ago by Jean Murray
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Easy read but never really takes off....pretty repetitive chapters.
Published 5 days ago by shed_dragger
4.0 out of 5 stars Family life in a road trip
Well written, keeps you entertained from beginning to end. If you have a family it's easy to see the general ups and downs of everyday life with young kids. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Ian Palmer
2.0 out of 5 stars Are we nearly finished this long dialogue yet?
Honestly, I was disappointed by this. As an avid traveller with kids myself I could relate to much of the content in this book, but I felt that it could have been done much better. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jonathan Orr
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
What a great book, beautifully written, I laughed, cried and fell in love with all 4 members of the family
Published 1 month ago by Allie r
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