A Travellers Tales

Our stay in Settle has come to an end and tomorrow we head back south to return to work, gardening and a bit of golf, all activities that can be enjoyable but do not compare with a trip to the Dales. This trip has been very special and has included many memorable moments, but none more so than Maurice’s 90th birthday party that ended with the legend himself on stage singing “That’s Life”.


Those of us fortunate enough to have been present will never forget the night. It has been a fantastic trip, an opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones.

Whilst wandering around Settle Lynnie has been browsing the second hand bookshop. These days my reading is mainly factual, often political biographies and autobiographies or books addressing issues about the development of civil society. It all sounds a bit heavy but I promise that, in my opinion, it beats the popular best sellers any day of the week.

Early in the week Jane shared with me a copy of an academic paper that she has recently had published covering the topic of volunteer tourism and we have discussed our individual perspectives of the topic. I am but a layman sparring with the master, and of course we both really agree with each other!

Lynnie’s contribution to my next batch of reading initially has me wondering. It is an old hard-back book called ‘The Peep Show” and was written in 1927 by a chap called Walter Wilkinson, (no relation to Maurice!). My edition is the 1937 reprint recounting the start of Walter’s career as a showman travelling around the country setting up his Peep Show, which is akin to a Punch and Judy show, and sleeping in a tent. His mode of travel was by foot pulling along his cabinet (which he christens “The Old Encumbrance”) containing the show and his possessions. This first book in a series covers Walter’s exploits in the West Country and visits many of the places that Lynnie I went to last year.

I know you will be thinking what is Fred doing reading a book about a Punch and Judy show, but this book is about so much more. It records Walter’s encounters with people along the way and describes villages and towns before the combustion engine began to dominate. His love of the countryside and the pleasure derived from meeting people is readily apparent. If such a thing as the internet and blogging had been around in Walter’s day he would have been a major hit.

I can only aspire to write prose to match the quality of Walter, but at a recent meeting with my web guru Andrew I was amazed to discover that the ‘Two Dogs and an Awning” website gets about 17,000 page hits per month. So I will continue to churn out tales of our travels, although I am not sure what folk will make of them in years to come.

30th May 2015

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2015)

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