Saturday, 22 October 2016

Remnants of the UK Trip Through Arthur Pepper

I have finished this book and I must say in my jet lagged haze it was a comfortable read. No terror, suspense, misogyny, war or animal cruelty.  A tale about Arthur, whose wife died one year previously and he is still in mourning. As one year has now passed he goes upstairs to finally remove her clothes from the wardrobe. In the toe of a boot he finds a gold charm bracelet with several beautiful charms.

This tale is his quest to find out about her life that he knew nothing about by tracking down the history behind each charm.  The characters in the English village are charming with touches of reality to their situations in life.

There is the too kind neighbour, her sullen teenage son Nathan who was a pleasant surprise after awhile. There were the strangers he either talked to (in India) or met in Paris. Throw in a couple of headstrong, dysfunctional grown up children and you have it.

It is the kind of book one might read while curled up on the couch in a comfy robe, hot drink on a rainy day, maybe if you have a headache. It won't be for everyone as several of the tales are just too crazy to believe and reality does fly out the window on occasion but everyone seems to do okay in the end. I thought it was fun to follow his quest.

Food is warm, beds are sometimes comfy, people are generally nice to each other though eccentric. If you enjoyed Harold Fry or the 100 Year Old man who left the nursing home through the window then you will probably enjoy this book.

I had to laugh as on my recent trip to the UK with my friend JW we got into some pretty solid routines. Big breakfast, lunch at a pub or cafe around 1:30, several hours of driving and sight seeing. Then at night we disappeared into our separate rooms to post pictures, write letters home and our evening meal was cereal, milk, yogurt, fruit or a salad. Something we picked up in the local Value store or Tesco.  We enjoyed our down time but one thing that seemed to be consistent was our quest to find a great biscuit (cookie). JW loved the chocolate digestives. She cannot get them in the USA where she lives. I can get them but don't' care for them. Give me a crispy chocolate chip cookie with a moist center. No matter what your preference is biscuits were a daily topic of conversation between us.

I was reading Arthur Pepper when I came across the following paragraph that made me laugh out loud.

Usually the first thing he and Miriam would do when they got to a room in a B & B was to have a nice cup of tea and see what type of cookie graced the courtesy tray.
They had devised a rating system together. Obviously, receiving no cookies at all scored a big fat zero. Digestives scored a two. Custard creams were a little better coming in at four.  Bourbons he had originally rated as a five but he had grown to appreciate them, so upgraded them to six. Any cookie that tasted of chocolate without containing any had to be admired. Farther up the scale were the pos cookies usually provided by the larger hotel chains- the lemon and ginger cookies or chocolate chip, which came in at eight. For a ten, the cookies had to be homemade by the  proprietors, and this was very rare. 

We always looked to see what kind of cookies the B & B provided and thought they were quite cheap when there was nothing available. We tended to like anything with ginger or chocolate.

I have no idea if anyone who reads this has read this book but if so I would love to know what you thought. I had not heard of it but we saw it on a shelf in one of our B & B rooms while we travelled and we both noted the title and author to check up on it later. I was not disappointed. 


  1. it sounds interesting. the book, i mean... might break my rule on limiting the number of books i buy and order it. tx.... i was so desperate for c.c. cookies once i actually made a batch myself... they tasted kind of funny but i ate them anyway; later, mrs. m. said i shouldn't have put so much lemon in them... so, i mean, who's to know?...

    1. The best of plans, eh? Thanks for stopping by.

    2. The best of plans, eh? Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Sounds like the perfect book for travelling. Love that quote - and your lead into it.

    I also loved your routines. It's really very fascinating - and something I've been thinking abut in recent times - how quickly we create little routines for ourselves. Is it human nature, and if so is it a good or a bad thing that we do this? Does it stultify us or create a space for us. (BTW I totally approve of the nice lunch and then the quiet evening catching up, writing, sorting images etc.

  3. I am a creature of routine. I can go for awhile without them but like it when I get back to them again. I like order in my life though it does not happen regularly. Our separate accommodation with time to ourself really helped us enjoy the experience. It was important to have down time on our own to reflect on the day and top up our reserves.


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