|It has often been said there are as many travel writers as there are travellers: in other words,everyone has a travel book in them. Youjust have to travel, then write it down.And, because no two people will ever experience the same place inexactly the same way at the same time, it is also true that no one ever has the definitive "last word” on a particular location. Which is just as well for Steve Rudd, as he chooses to kick off his chronicles of travels during the spring and summer of 2008 with some random musings on the Lake District. What is there new to say about an area which has had more words written on it than almost anyother part of Britain? Well, brace yourself, as this is probably the only serious part of the book! In between wondering whether he is turning into Alfred Wainwright, Steve debates the pressures which tourism itself forces on the Lakes, an area locked in a corrupting yet symbiotic relationship that both nourishes and destroys it.
The Arran section of the book follows the same diary format which was the core of Arran Diaries, with similar results. As the "Arran Silkie”, their faithful VW camper van, is in dock for major surgery, Steve and his wife buy a collapsible – in every sense of the word - caravan from an online auction site, hook it up to the back of their ordinary suburban car, and set off for Scotland incompletely unjustified hope. Inevitably what ensues is a catalogue of misadventures, starting with an epic struggle to erect the tin tent on anuneven beach in a Scottish tropical storm, ending up spending the night bad-temperedly sleeping in the car.(Anyone know a good divorce lawyer?) Even the dog is begging to go home.Their marriage is saved at the last moment by emergency phone calls to the helpful chap who sold them the caravan and the rest of the holiday proceeds with relatively few mishaps. Seals frolic against a background of magnificent sunsets, "her indoors” paddles off in her kayak (but, unlike Mr Darwin, comes back again. Or should that read "like Mr Darwin, comes back again?”) and the dog is finally econciled to the strange idea of being washed in seawater.
Loitering with TinTent concludes with a final section of Travel Epilogues covering other neglected corners of Britain, including Pembrokeshire and Dumfries and Galloway.