This book seemed to offer a chance for me to read about some of the things I miss since I left the UK; details of the beautiful British countryside, and told by a well-respected writer and TV personality. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
Janet's account reads like a primary school pupil's account of what she got up to during the 'hols'. It wouldn't surprise me to find that at least one third of the sentences start with the word 'I':
I then took the path leading....
I came to a stile...
I arrived at the meeting place an hour late...
I expect better of a professional writer-yes, that was intentional.
Exclamation marks abound, mostly for no good reason that I could see, and the writing seems so predictable. So many chapters or paragraphs are seemingly stamped out with what my American friends would call a cookie-cutter:
I left the inn/house/pub the next morning. The footpath was supposed to start at the back/left/right of the building, but after half-an-hour/45 minutes/an hour I still couldn't find it so had to walk along the road till I came to a farm/bridle path/track. Here the corn/nettles/barley was high/treated with chemicals, and scratched/blistered my legs.
On practically the first page there is a glaring error, although I'm sure this is not Ms Street-Porter's fault. The first of the two maps is labelled 'West to East; Dungeness to Weston-Super-Mare'. Well, things have changed significantly since I left England in the 80s, but I trust Weston hasn't migrated to continental Europe.
Finally, although again I'm sure this is not Ms Street-Porter's fault, I found the typeface very difficult to read, exacerbated by the small size of the punctuation-perhaps that's why she chose to use so many exclamation marks-and the tiny space between sentences. This reader often found himself running into the next sentence a couple of words before he realised he'd overshot the mark.