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 grade-school child's account of what she did during her summer vacation. 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 expected better of a professional writer-yes, that was intentional.
Exclamation points 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 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 the very first pages there are glaring errors, although I'm sure these are not of Ms Street-Porter's doing. The first of two maps is labelled 'West to East; Dungeness to Weston-Super-Mare', as is the first chapter. 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. It is a small type, dark gray rather than black, and is made more difficult by the small size of the punctuation-perhaps that's why she chose to use so many exclamation points-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.