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The Teatime Islands: Adventures in Britain's Faraway Outposts [Paperback]

Ben Fogle
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Aug 2004

Welcomed with open arms, derided as a pig-ignorant tourist and occasionally mocked mercilessly for his trouble, Ben Fogle visited the last flag-flying outposts of the British Empire.

With caution, dignity and a spare pair of pants thrown to the wind, he set out to discover just exactly who would choose to live on islands as remote as these and - more importantly - tried to figure out exactly why. Landing himself on islands so isolated, wind-swept, barren and just damned peculiar that they might have Robinson Crusoe thinking twice, Fogle:

- Almost becomes lunch on the appropriately named Carcass Island

- Gets deported from Pitcairn for being both a spy and a smuggler

- Uncovers the story of the tyrant who became St Helena's most unwilling and least popular guest

- And witnesses a shark attack from a respectable distance.

Why he went, what he did when he got there and how exactly he got back in one piece makes for an eye-opening but affectionate look into life in these unique, peculiar places.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141010460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141010465
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Ben Fogle was the star of the BBC's hit series Castaway 2000. Now presenting Country File, The Teatime Islands is Ben's first book. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Man is an Island 15 Jan 2005
If you really want to enjoy a travel book with a difference then I can enthusiastically recommend Ben Fogle's first book "The Teatime Islands" first published by Penguin Books earlier this year.
Ben Fogle is of course the writer and travel presenter who also vollunteered for the Taransay "Castaway" 2000 project spending a year on a normally uninhabited Island with a bunch of strangers.
The Teatime Islands, are not in fact a long forgotten archipelago in the middle of the pacific but a collective name given to some of the most remote places on earth all linked together by the fact that they are British Overseas Territories. Even as a young boy, Ben Fogle dreamed of visiting these far off places and walked the globe with his fingers at teatime..hence the name.
Following on from his experience on Taransay, Ben is determined to take a year and visit some of these places he has only dreamed about. Organising such a trip is not easy, with normal commitments and the sheer inaccessbility of the Islands he has selected. However he begins his journey in 2002.
Ben visited six different regions, and these are Tristan da Cunha, Falkland Islands, St Helena, Pitcairn, Ascension Island, British Indian Ocean Territories and his journey was not without the occasional mishap, as well as the most wonderful opportunity to meet like minded individuals.
I loved the straightforward flow of the book, and as each Island or Group of Islands was written as a separate chapter, then it made it easy to read them in the order you wish to, rather than in chronological order, some Islands being better known (or simply have a higher profile in the news), than others.
It was a joy to read this book and I literally could not put it down, completing it in just a few short reading sessions.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ben captures Island spirits 27 Jan 2004
Ben Fogle has notched up some very faraway islands to add to his reportoire. Places few of us will ever be fortunate enough to visit. For someone new to professional writing it stands up pretty well, although I found myself wishing there was more depth at times. The content was very interesting,and there is no doubt Ben has the island spirit in him, but I felt it was a difficult task to link so much in one book to a common theme, and the 'Teatime Islands' theme was a bit weak. Overall,the book was well worth reading and highlights the hand in glove aspect of UK/USA military policy riding roughshod over people who are supposed to be under our protection. Whatever the books literary shortcomings may be, I am grateful to Ben for his efforts to enlighten.
I liked all the permit stamps and tickets too !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teatime Islands 3 Oct 2004
As a keen reader of travel writing, I looked forward to reading this book and it didn't disappoint as it gave an interesting account about parts of the world that are rarely heard about. The only problem I had with the book was that I felt there could have been more photos, and I felt that and that instead of having all the photos lumped together, they could have been put with the text that they refered to. A lot of the photos showed things that had been refered briefly to in the text while some things that I was really curious to see had no picture at all. I feel I have probably been spolit after many years reading Micheal Palins travel books with Basil Pao's wonderful photography of far flung places! This said it is a wonderful book about an unusual topic and certainly worth a read.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teatime With Ben Fogle 16 Sep 2003
The well known Castaway Ben has been travelling to lots of far flung islands of the British Empire. His humourous writing style transports you to the islands he visited, and his descriptions of the people and places are so vivid, you could almost have been there yourself. What a refreshingly enjoyable travel book this is. He includes the history of each island in a interesting way, and his own experiences and comments on the places and people are often laugh out loud funny. I went to see him at our local bookshop last week where he charmed an audience of over 200 people with a talk, some readings from the book, answering questions and signing books too. His readings from the book made you want to rush home and read it immediately. He talked of future travel plans, and I look forward to the next book from him. Any Castaway fan will love this book. It comes with maps and colour photographs, and gives you itchy feet to go and see the places for yourself. Well done Ben!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read 28 Jan 2007
This is an easy, undemanding book about those few islands that only travel writers, the military or extremely rich people can visit. It's certainly well written, but "fantastic", "amazing" and the superlative used by other reviewers, it ain't. For many of the chapters you would probably find no greater insight than it could be gained from looking up this information on the web. Fogle is good narrator, but he describes places 'on the suface', so you gain the same insight as if you looked through a photo album of these remote islands. There are cameo descriptions of individuals propping up from time, but these are very brief and Fogle lacks the experience, or the time, to delve deeply into their personalities. The best chapter by far is the one on Pitcairn. This is odd, because Pitcairn is the only island Fogle does not manage to visit, but his deep sense of let down, his anger and depression, lead him to analyze the social background of this island with true passion, managing to reveal far more of this place than of any of the other islands previouosly described. A light book to while away a wintry weekend, but nothing more perceptive than that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I really loved this. Ben's writing style is witty and very descriptive. It really feels like you are traveling to these places with him rather than listening to someone drone on... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Angelcake
1.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading drivel
The quality of writing in Ben Fogle's travel story is very disappointing. With his constant references to a contrived castaway experience on Taransay seeming to be his childish way... Read more
Published 10 months ago by nzfish75
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book on Britain's few remaining Empire islands
I found Ben Fogle's writing very east to digest. The book is both entertaining and educating. He visits the Falklands, Ascension, St Helena, BIOT and tries to see Pitcairn, but is... Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2012 by Mark Rogers
3.0 out of 5 stars Island paradise?....well not quite.
This book for me was an ok read.Ben Fogle is a likeable and charming man and this comes across in this book well. Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2010 by Miss L. Andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well handled delivery problem!
Very impressed with this seller. I wrote to let them know the book hadn't arrived and they chased it up and sorted it quickly!
Published on 5 Nov 2009 by Mr. Samuel E. Haigh
3.0 out of 5 stars A fair effort.
I bought this book because of its subject matter and I must admit that Ben is an engagng travel companion. However I found that his his writing style got on my nerves. Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2008 by Matteo_B
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloomin' Brilliant!
I loved this book - Ben's style of writing and his choice of subject not only makes this a fascinating read, but his self-depreciating wit ensures the reader laughs out loud every... Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2005
3.0 out of 5 stars Commision Based Writing?
The more I read this book the more I wondered if he was being paid commision by the amount of times he mentioned he had starred in a reality TV show (which, I must add, I had not... Read more
Published on 29 Jun 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed every page - almost as good as being there!
I loved this book. Ben Fogle seems to be able to get along with everyone in such an easy way and his enthusiasm for adventure and new experiences shines through. Read more
Published on 20 April 2005 by speccy reader
4.0 out of 5 stars A book for daydreamers
A magical read, interesting from start to finish. He really sells the places (apart from Pitcairn!), and takes you into the lives of the people. Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2005 by R. Williams
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