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A Fete Worse Than Death - Iain Aitch

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Author: Iain Aitch / 320 pages / Publisher: Review / Released: June 7, 2004

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      07.08.2012 18:09
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      An unusual guide to weekend trips in England

      The second book in my www.sixbookchallenge.org is A Fete Worse Than Death by Iain Aitch.

      This book comes under the travel section, although it is like no other travel book I have read, then again mine has been limited to travel guides.

      The book is a guide to England, based upon Iain's own summer weekend aways over the years, discovering what can only be said as quaint English past times. By this I mean that Iain uncovers a wide range of contests and that only locals or the in-depth researcher may find, alongside the more tradition English pastime of the Fete.
      All of this written with a fun, light hearted take makes an interesting if usual read.

      The shin kicking contest of Chipping Campden which is part of the Cotswold Olimpick Games (and yes I have spelt it correctly according to the book), a strange contest where you do actually kick each others shins. This is where Iain meets on of many new friends on his travels called Dave.
      Dave is into civil war re-enactment and so this leads to a further partaking in the re-enactment by the Luftwaffe Historical group.

      Toe wrestling, apparently there is a world championship for this too!

      Stonehenge - know this is a chapter that did make me giggle. I have never been to Stonehenge but the way that Iain describes it is exactly how I imagine it to be, right or wrongly. New age travellers, hippies and crusties (his words) singing, dancing, drinking and smoking to what they may feel is the summer solstice is. Whatever your beliefs may be of Stonehenge of how and why is was constructed it looks an amazing piece of history I would like to see, it is just a shame it seems to be ruined by fencing around albeit perhaps needed to stop people destroying it.

      Crop circles and the age old question of who or what makes them is discussed in chapter 9, and where else but Cornwall would you see a giant cornish pasty float across a river!

      Train and plane spotting with the odd look at a bus! Located at many a do such as Fairford Air Tattoo and up and down the countries train stations and airports. Iain looks at the typical stereotype of a train spotter but will he find that justified?

      The fete - typical British summer trait and even more so this year with the Queens jubilee and the Olympics. Bunting, street parties, tom bola, cake stalls we all remember them.

      Shakespeare and Stratford-upon-Avon, Blackpool tower and it's pleasure beach, Butlin's and Bognor bird man contest at the end of a pier what could be more quint-essentially British than this.


      A unique, fun look at places and contests in England, perhaps more for the eccentric traveller or foreigners wanting to see another side to England other than the tourist spots.
      Even if you don't want to visit the places Iain goes to, it is a different look at England and is and interesting book to give an unusual slant on places. If you did want to see these things though I guess doing it weekend by weekend would be the only way as they would all be at different times.

      RRP £7.99 Available online at www.Amazon.co.uk and www.waterstones.co.uk

      Review maybe posted on ciao and dooyoo under the same username.

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