"Cameron writes with one hand wired to the mains."—Literary Review
Elderly British men display a variety of annoying habits. They write letters to the newspapers; they drink too much; they reminisce about the old days; they make lewd comments to younger women; they shout at the television screen; and they go for long walks and get lost.
Jeremy Cameron chose the last of these options. Trying to emulate Patrick Leigh Fermor’s feat of 1933, he walked from Hook of Holland to Istanbul.
Leigh Fermor was a legendary figure. Scholar, multilinguist, beautiful prose stylist, war hero, tough guy, charmer and famous lover: Cameron is none of these things and he also suffers from a heart condition. Rest assured that there will be no tedious details of operations or stoicism in this book. Nor will there be descriptions of understated generosity, quiet irony or British phlegm.
The main point of travel is to recognise the virtues of staying at home. When at home, it is not possible to get bogged down in Alpine snow, fall over on one’s face on Kosovan tarmac or suffer a comprehensive mugging on deserted roads in Greece. Nor does one have to speak foreign languages, eat foreign food or, above all, drink terrible tea.
It is about two thousand miles from Hook of Holland to Istanbul. Thirteen countries lie in wait for the walker. They have many wonderful sights and much fascinating history. Readers will not find them in this book. They will, however, find a number of stories of varying authenticity and some very dubious observations about life. By the time Turkey arrived, Cameron was utterly and completely fed up with the whole process. Never again would he do anything quite so stupid.
He is currently walking round all the places in England beginning with the letter Q.
JEREMY CAMERON is a former probation officer and the author of five novels set in Walthamstow.
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