Monday, September 24, 2007

Three Men in a Boat - post II

What can go wrong starts to go wrong but the emerging character here is Montmorency the dog who manages to have a run in with a cat as well as the kettle and come off worse in both cases.

Bullet points between pages 76 – 150

* The three boaters are travelling up the Thames recalling the various experiences they have had and they seem to range from having a bad experience learning to row as well as running into problems with steam boats

* As part of the revenge process they deliberately block the steamboats that have come up for an event in Henley and manage to infuriate most of the river traffic by pretending not to notice they are getting in the way

* There are some moments that get you chuckling as Jerome gets George into hysterics as he drops his shirt into the river only to then be incoherent with laughter himself after realising it’s George’s shirt

* Then they pop out leaving Harris in charge of the boat and when he crosses the river to pick them up he is clearly worse for wear and mumbling about fending off a flock of swans before slipping back into his stupor

* All the way up the Thames Jerome shares not only some of the history of the places on the way but his opinions on some of the places on the route describing Reading as ugly and Marlow as one of the better places to stop en route

The entire book has a feeling, humour aside, of describing a Britain that has largely disappeared. Messing about on the river in a very innocent way with hampers and boaters is the stuff of a more innocent age. The humour has lasted but sadly much of the world Jerome describes has gone and you are reminded of it very much when one villager on the Thames advises them to drink the river water, as he has done for 15 years. They are about to when a dead dog drifts by. Now of course you would be mad to even consider sipping the stuff unfiltered and treated.

More tomorrow…

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