Notes From a Small Island

Notes from a Small IslandNotes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

I want to like Bill Bryson, he can be quite funny at times, and I really enjoyed his audio tour of the Roman Baths in Bath England, but sometimes he can be so insufferable. I find his frustrations with regular people trying to do their jobs while he willy-nilly wanders around without a plan or a schedule very irritating. You know how to avoid that sort of frustration? Have a plan and a schedule. If you’re not going to have a plan or a schedule then it’s rude to be angry at someone because their day doesn’t suit what you want. If you’re going to wander around unscheduled it seems to me you’d need to be a lot more chill than Bryson apparently is. He seems to feel that because he thinks something should be a certain way that he has the right to be angry when it isn’t. In addition to those times in the text when I just wanted to smack him, there is his unbounded love for the English language. Look I was an English major, I appreciate the language, but don’t use twenty words when two will suffice especially when it’s not funny to do so. Okay, so I wanted to like this book more than I did. I did appreciate some of the places he went and his descriptions when they weren’t ridiculous. In short, I found this book very uneven. I have a copy of The Road to Little Dribbling, but I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll read it. Perhaps next year.

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Coffee Emergencies Abroad

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If you should find yourself in the English countryside, you might discover that the vast majority of coffee available to you is dark French or Italian roasts. If you’re like me and you prefer a medium or light roast, you might be a little frustrated. If this is your situation, I recommend buying a bag of Taylors Lazy Sunday. It’s a medium roast, drinkable with a little milk, and you won’t have that rage feeling in the morning. Also featured in the photo above is the pour over setup I made from the circa 1970s coffee maker we found in the cottage where we were staying. Co-op Food also carries a store branded fair trade medium roast which is also drinkable. You have to make due sometimes when traveling, so I had to buy ground coffee, because neither of the places we stayed had a grinder. No, I don’t travel with one. I haven’t reached that level of coffee crazy. Other than the limited coffee situation, I really love the English countryside. It looks a lot like Virginia and aside from a few things here and there, feels very much like home.