Home > General > What I’m Going to Read on My Holidays

What I’m Going to Read on My Holidays

I take up my pen in this Year of Grace Two Thousand and Eleven to apprise you that I imminently purpose to embark, at some considerable risk to my person, on an hazardous and lengthy voyage to a little known former province of the great British Empire; an Empire which, at its zenith, bestrode ‘the narrow world like a Colossus’ as the Bard has it. My sole and faithful companion will be the trusty Mrs M, often styled ‘The Passepartout of Embra’. I will be furnishing you with a full chronicle of my journey to the island of Terra Australis Incognita.

I have, as my inspiration, the ‘great travellers’ described by the immortal Jules Verne (1828-1905) in his masterpiece, ‘Celebrated Travels and Travellers’. To borrow from the great man in his ‘Preface’ thereto, I trust that my readers will render to Mrs M the credit due to her for her ‘share in a work which will demonstrate what manner of men the great travellers have been from the time of Hanno and Herodotus down to Livingstone and Stanley’ (and me, in my opinion, if Jules had lived long enough to learn of my many and manifest talents).

Sorry about that. Been reading too many long-winded books from times past.

The thing is that we’re going to Australia so we bought this Kindle. We’re only getting 23 kg baggage allowance each so we can’t pack many books. I assume that they probably have books in Oz, but you can never be too careful, can you?

It follows that I’m only downloading books to the Kindle that are out of copyright and free. Actually, I suppose that doesn’t actually follow until you remember that I am a Jock and am not about to pay for copyright books when I have blown more than a whole 100 English Pounds on the Kindle itself.

So, in preparation for the trip, I’ve been merrily downloading books of travel from bygone days. The aforementioned Jules Verne, de Tocqueville’s ‘Democracy in America’, ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, Steven Leacock’s ‘My Discovery of England’ etc. Given that I am a Jock and convinced that I might be doomed, I have also downloaded ‘Robinson Crusoe’ and ‘The Admirable Crichton’ in case the plane crashes and we end up on a desert island, going or coming.

For the avoidance of doubt, ‘Lord of the Flies’ is still in copyright and I never liked the book anyway.

Anyhow, I intend to blog about the whole trip big time because I am seriously looking forward to it for so many different reasons. There will be more later. I hope that you will enjoy.

Kindles are magic, by the way. I always used to think that I would not like them because they would not have the sheer feel of a book. Still love said feel but am now besotted by the ease with which I can download pretty well any book any time. Revisiting so many books of my youth and stacking them up for re-reading, courtesy of the Gutenberg Project.

In honesty, bought my first Kindle book today and the wireless delivery was so easy. ‘Who Killled Clarissa’ by our fellow cherished author Tom Kilcourse, aka Brandwood. Going to read it on the plane to Australia Fair next Tuesday.

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Categories: General
  1. June 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm | #1

    Oooh another Kindle convert! Have some great adventures and enjoy the convenience of the Kindle, John. Capt Sensible has one and got thoroughly ribbed about putting it on the “large print” setting on the beach in St Lucia. “So much less effort to read,” he said. Yeah, yeah. ;-)

  2. June 19, 2011 at 11:17 pm | #2

    I have recently been introduced to Clive Cussler. Pardon th epun, but I am hooked.

    I shall be taking a few to OZs cave with me and I can guarantee they will be in the one and only, paper format. Lindle my small furry pink arse.

  3. June 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm | #3

    Yikes Kindle!!!!!

  4. Bearsy
    June 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm | #4

    The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has been notified.
    Jock warning cones have been raised. :-)

  5. June 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm | #5

    Haw Guru.

    No point in taking paper books to the Cave.

    One, you probably won’t have time, given the extensive social activities that OZ will surely have planned for the pair of you.

    Two, if you leave them untended, he’ll probably use them to keep the eternal flame of his barbie going. I envy you all that lightly-seared meat.

    Have a great time with OZ.

  6. June 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm | #6

    Yikes Jay Em,

    I know OZ is lupine but I credit him with some degree of litrary respect.

    Anyhoo 451 deg F is nowhere near hot enough to sear a good steak. :)

  7. June 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm | #7

    H

    Bearsy :

    The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has been notified.
    Jock warning cones have been raised. :-)

    Hi Bearsy.

    Funnily enough, I have been googling the provisions of the Australian Customs and Quarantine rules to see what we could get away with bringing in with us.

    I reckon that the Mars Bars are OK, provided that we declare them and get them checked for insect or larval infection. Don’t think that the haggis is going to be a possibility.

  8. Bearsy
    June 19, 2011 at 11:42 pm | #8

    Seriously JM, our customs people are absolutely paranoid about any foodstuffs, and what was allowed in yesterday may not be allowed in today. There is little logic to it, but if you want a stress-free passage through immigration, discard all consumables in the bins provided. I’m not joshing, they can be right little Hitlers and it can seriously damage your first impressions of our wonderful country.

  9. June 19, 2011 at 11:43 pm | #9

    John, I’m an old fashioned girl; I like the feel of books; I like to cover them in comments! I do hope you have a super trip, Kindle and all. :-)

  10. O Zangado
    June 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm | #10

    Evenin’, JM. So true – Ferret and Beloved will be far too busy scrubbing potatoes, harvesting rosemary and peeling garlic for the smash to worry about such fripperies as books. The eternal flame needs inspiration and I am already busy selecting choice cuts of pig, sheep, rabbit and goat to throw on the fire, as well as the freshest fish and the most succulent bivalves and cephalopods.

    OZ

  11. June 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm | #11

    Bearsy :

    Seriously JM, our customs people are absolutely paranoid about any foodstuffs, and what was allowed in yesterday may not be allowed in today. There is little logic to it, but if you want a stress-free passage through immigration, discard all consumables in the bins provided. I’m not joshing, they can be right little Hitlers and it can seriously damage your first impressions of our wonderful country.

    Thanks, Bearsy,

    The problem is that you can take the Jock out of Jockland and make him an Aussie but there’s always a wee bit left.

    My ex-Jock, New Aussie brother-in-law has a serious craving for Mars Bars (un-fried). He claims that Aussie Mars Bars taste nothing like the real thing. His big sis, aka Mrs M, wants to indulge him.

    Thanks for the warning. I’ll try to persuade her to heed it.

  12. Boadicea
    June 20, 2011 at 12:01 am | #12

    Interesting comment re the Kindle… I’m half way to thinking that I might get one or similar. I never travel without a book, and they do get exceedingly heavy at times! But. like Ana, I love the feel of a book – although I don’t write all over them – but use postits!

    Be warned! Books here are extremely expensive – and will seem even more so with your weak pound. My return-trip luggage is always over-weight from the number of books that I acquire in the UK. We not only pay GST (10% kind of VAT) but the publishers are also ‘protected’ from those ‘pesky cheap imports’. It’s not surprising that two of our largest Book-Sellers have just gone belly-up because more and more people are buying overseas.

    Bearsy is right about Customs. Although, to be fair, I have had a number of really nice people wave me through with flowers and other wooden stuff. However, my daughter had one of two huge boxes of orchids (both bought together in Singapore) confiscated last trip… And we do have Mars bars here – although, again, I have feeling that you might find them expensive!

    I don’t know who you are travelling with – but on our last trip back (with Singapore airlines) we had three suitcases (went out with two) and another 20 kgs of luggage. The very nice check-in lady told us that we could have had another kilogram before we could be liable for excess charges.

    I hope you enjoy the trip – and am looking forward to your posts!

  13. June 20, 2011 at 12:02 am | #13

    anatheimp :

    John, I’m an old fashioned girl; I like the feel of books; I like to cover them in comments! I do hope you have a super trip, Kindle and all. :-)

    Hi Ana. Good to see you here again.

    You can cover your Kindle book in comments and bookmarks as well.

    But you are right, It could never be the same.

    I have a couple of my Dad’s books from his time at the Uni of Embra, complete with his under linings and marginal comments. They mean a lot to me.

  14. Boadicea
    June 20, 2011 at 12:05 am | #14

    Just declare the Mars Bars, John.

    Some years ago a friend brought me over huge quantities of aniseed twist. I forgot to warn her about customs, so she packed them in her suitcase.

    When she landed she was hauled over and had to unpack the suitcase, because the ‘sniffer’ dogs had caused a huge fuss over her case. I transpired that the drug smugglers used aniseed to try to fool the dogs! She explained about her aniseed-addicted friend and was allowed to bring the whole lot through to me!

  15. O Zangado
    June 20, 2011 at 12:06 am | #15

    JM – Bearsy isn’t kidding. Throw away anything edible, scrub the mud from your hiking boots and declare everything else you have with you, however obscure, just in case.

    Once you’re in you’ll love it. ‘Godzown’ is the best country in the world, especially if you end up in Brisbane.

    OZ

  16. June 20, 2011 at 6:13 am | #16

    Hi JM
    If you do decide to splash out on the real thing, there are usually several book exchanges in most cities. For a couple of dollars you can swap your last read for a new one.

    Wrong continent, I know, but I think one for your Kindle should be, Dickens’s American Notes.

    Are we to be allowed to know your itinerary in advance, or must we wait for your journals?

  17. Soutie
    June 20, 2011 at 7:44 am | #17

    John Mackie :

    we’re going to Australia so we bought this Kindle. .

    Howzit JM

    Fascinating stuff did you buy one each or will Mrs. M be reading over your shoulder? Perhaps it has a large screen (42″ ?) and the two of you can have a book each or will the two of you be taking turns?

    http://planetsmilies.net/confused-smiley-17428.gif

    Looks like your cherished Sharks might be in Brisbane before you! If the Sharks beat the Crusaders this Saturday their semi will be the Reds!

  18. sheona
    June 20, 2011 at 8:41 am | #18

    It appears that our children are giving husband a Kindle for Father’s Day. It just hasn’t arrived yet. For our stay in Bratislava I shall once again be making use of Next Apache, a café and bookshop, where one can buy secondhand English books and then sell them back once read. The sort of book exchange Sipu mentions, except that this one deals in English, that is foreign language, books.

    http://bratislavabuff.blogspot.com/2006/11/apache-second-hand-bookshop.html

    Have a great holiday, JM.

  19. Janus
    June 20, 2011 at 9:07 am | #19

    JM, I’m shocked by this concession of yours to new-fangled gadgetry! I have you down as a red flag waver in the age of the horseless carriage; a ferry passenger no matter how old the Chunnel; a veritable knotted hankie and rolled trouser-leg kinda fella on the naturist beaches of life! Must I now revisit my cherished impressions of a cherished author hereabouts?

  20. Four-eyed English Genius
    June 20, 2011 at 11:20 am | #20

    On our recent trip to the colonies, Mrs FEEG and I took quite a lot of reading material. She, being a scroll and quill merchant, had some paperbacks and only just made the weight allowance limit by a feather. I had my entire Terry Pratchett collection on my Sony eReader. I prefer the Sony as there are more sources of material. It came with a DVD with 100 out of copyright classics books on it, and I have read all of the ones that interest me.

    A similar problem exists back home. I have not bought or been given as a present, a paper book for some time. Mrs FEEG insists on paper, so we now have numerous groaning bookcases, shelves and piles of books on the floor. I know which I prefer.

  21. Boadicea
    June 20, 2011 at 11:39 am | #21

    FEEG

    We, too, have “numerous bookcases, shelves” – but haven’t quite got to the point of “piles of books on the floor” – but there are several large boxes of books that haven’t been unpacked in at least two moves cluttering up the garage.

    Since I can’t bear to part with any book, I think I’m going to have to seriously consider shifting my mindset away from “scroll and quill”,

  22. cuprum426
    June 20, 2011 at 3:38 pm | #22

    Soutie – no chance of the Sharks beating the Crusaders my friend!

  23. June 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm | #23

    No thanks to a Kindle, rather good paper and books.

    Ferret Clive Custler, oh dear. Still light hearted romp that do work with Dirk Pitt.

  24. June 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm | #24

    I hope you have a wonderful trip, John.

    My Luddite tendencies come to the surface, I’m afraid, when it comes to electronic Kindles and the like. I prefer books, although I have been weakening slightly of late. I’d be interesting in hearing how you get on with it.

    Safe journey and don’t forget to send a postcard. :)

  25. christinaosborne
    June 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm | #25

    Hmm, think I’d have sent them the fare to visit you! The thought of that journey is throat cutting especially voluntarily
    I found those electric books give me eye strain you have to keep tipping it this way and that to avoid glare, most unpleasant..
    Have a good trip.
    I find it a bit weird that you should leave Scotland the only time the weather is tolerable? Why not go in your winter and get a way from it?

  26. June 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm | #26

    christinaosborne :

    I find it a bit weird that you should leave Scotland the only time the weather is tolerable? Why not go in your winter and get a way from it?

    Christina, you and me both! ( I think that is the expression) It is winter in Oz and Melbourne, which is actually quite pretty in summer, will be cold and wet. But, hey ho!

  27. June 20, 2011 at 10:52 pm | #27

    Enjoy your hols. Looking forward to the blogs.
    Have you bought your guidebooks on the Kindle?

  28. June 21, 2011 at 9:08 am | #28

    Sipu :

    christinaosborne :

    I find it a bit weird that you should leave Scotland the only time the weather is tolerable? Why not go in your winter and get a way from it?

    Christina, you and me both! ( I think that is the expression) It is winter in Oz and Melbourne, which is actually quite pretty in summer, will be cold and wet. But, hey ho!

    Good morning, CO & Sipu. We’re not going to Melbourne as the weather at the moment sounds like it would make us homesick. We’re doing NSW and Queensland.

    Weather today:-

    Cairns – Sunny 25
    Sydney – Sunny 16
    Brisbane – Sunny 18
    Embra – Heavy Rain 14

    Much as I love my country, even I would not claim that its weather was its greatest strength. Mind, we do get a lot of weather and all that rain is very good for the whisky. We also have the odd glorious spells of weather, made all the more special by their rarity.

    The only time of the year when I am not keen to venture furth of Scotland is late September and early October when we often have very fine weather and can enjoy all those autumnal colours in reasonably long hours of daylight.

  29. Bearsy
    June 21, 2011 at 9:15 am | #29

    Brisbane weather for today and the next week -

    It actually made 23 today. :grin:

  30. Boadicea
    June 21, 2011 at 11:17 am | #30

    You should be OK, John.

    My friend in Aberdeen is always telling me that the weather is just ‘fine’. I remember visiting her in mid-winter – never, ever again! She tells me that it’s wonderful and around 16 C, and always laughs when I tell her that’s freeeezing!

    My daughter was in Sydney last week and reckoned it was ‘cold’ and wet – but I think that we’ve both become far too used to thinking that 25 is just about comfortable!

    We’ve had the heating on for most of the day here!

  31. christinaosborne
    June 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm | #31

    Heating on when its in the 60s?
    Bugger, break out the mink lined knickers!

  32. June 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm | #32

    O Zangado :

    JM – Bearsy isn’t kidding. Throw away anything edible, scrub the mud from your hiking boots and declare everything else you have with you, however obscure, just in case.

    Once you’re in you’ll love it. ‘Godzown’ is the best country in the world, especially if you end up in Brisbane.

    OZ

    Hi, OZ. We’re not going to ‘end up’ in Brisbane. We’re going to ‘middle up’ there, just in time to wave bye-bye to Boadicea and Bearsy as they flee the country on 4th July, having obviously had advance warning of our invasion.

    Given all the advice hereon about being totally honest with the Aussie authorities, I intend to declare Mrs M as a ‘pearl beyond price”, when I enter the former colony. I just hope that the duty isn’t totally outrageous.

    I could, of course, end up in the quarantine bin, if she declares me.

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