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A Traveller's Life
by Eric Newby | Biographies & Memoirs
Registered by wingAnnimanniwing of Espoo, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on 4/27/2008
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status (set by kirjakko): travelling


This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!

2 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingAnnimanniwing from Espoo, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, April 27, 2008

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"Eric Newby's life of travel began with strange adventures in prams, forays into the lush jungles of Harrods with his mother and into the perilous slums of darkest Hammersmith on his way to school. Such beginnings aroused his curiosity about more outlandish places, a wanderlust satisfied equally by travels through the London sewers, by bicycle to Italy and through the wildest New York. His book chronicles the whole range of situations into which he has thrown himself with characterisctic verve and optimism, and his perception of the incongruous is as sharp when travelling abroad in search of high fashion, as a buyer to a chain of department stores, as it is when recalling his reluctant participation in a tiger shoot in India." 


Journal Entry 2 by wingAnnimanniwing at Espoo, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Monday, December 17, 2012

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This was more about Newby's life in general and less about his travels, which I found somewhat disappointing.

Next off to kirjakko as part of the wishlist tag game. 


Journal Entry 3 by wingAnnimanniwing at Espoo, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Monday, January 07, 2013

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Released 4 yrs ago (1/8/2013 UTC) at Espoo, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Wishlist tag book to kirjakko. Enjoy! 


Journal Entry 4 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Thanks Annimanni! I've so far only read a short story about his autistic son by Newby, but am looking forward to this memoir. 


Journal Entry 5 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Saturday, July 16, 2016

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I'm still on page 18, but so much keeps happening that I ought to start commenting already. Newby was born on the Finnish Independence Day in 1919. He fails to mention our big day, although he lists many details of world history which were taking place at that time.
I had no idea that Latvia and Lithuania had declared war against Germany. Not one of their brightest ideas, as they are two Lilliput countries comparing to Germany.
The Great Influenza epidemic I do know, although we called it The Spanish Disease. I didn't know that it killed more people in Europe than 4,5 years of WW1. I do know that without it I would not exist. My granny's first husband died of it and later she married my grandfather.
Sounds odd that with so many people lost in battle or flu the war would leave behind 350 000 unemployed ex-servicemen. Does this mean that men are useless?
I think I would not have been brave enough to fly in the 1919 aeroplanes, but it does sound lovely that 15-20 passengers got to sit in a large saloon furnished with carpets, curtains, armchairs, clocks, mirrors, telephones and flower vases. Finnair eat your heart out! I wonder where they phoned and how long a cable did they have?
Post travelled from Hounslow to Paris in 2,5 hours. It takes closer to two months for a fat letter to reach Madrid from Helsinki and if it does not find the recipient the two-way-journey will take closer to 6 months. And Finnish postal workers have not even started cutting grass on Tuesdays (that is their aim for 2017 - no post on Tuesdays, but some TLC for the garden). 


Journal Entry 6 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, July 17, 2016

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Reading is very slow. My old English teacher would have used her Red Pen quite vigorously on Newby's manuscript as his sentences go on and on and on, taking seven or nine rows. It is tiring to read as you ever so often have to start over to see what was the essence of the sentence.
Edit: The longest sentence I found was 14 rows!

Funny to think that even newspapers had 'horse departments', i.e. had their own horses, stables, carriages and the lot, less than a hundred years ago.

For the fun of it I'll mark down every place he mentions where I've been, too. So far:
Harrods, Thames, Hampstead, Surrey, The English Channel, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Europe, London, Paris, Vienna, Oxford, Eton, Cambridge, Bangor, Swansea, Broadstairs, Grand Canyon, Isle of Wight and Holland.

My memories from the Isle of Man: The Bathing Machine! My very favourite seaside contraption. It looked like a gipsy caravan and the royal ladies changed into their swimming costumes in it and the whole thing was dragged into water so that they could swim right out of it without revealing anything (and swimming costumes at that time did not reveal anything) and vice versa at the end of their swim.
They also had a 24/7 Bat Hospital on the island and warning triangles for 'Squirrels' and 'Red Squirrels!' (with an exclamation mark) for motorists. Were the 'Red Squirrels!' perhaps angrier? They also had a very good second-hand bookshop on the island. 


Journal Entry 7 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Monday, July 18, 2016

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Wow! Picture this: Harrods, 1929, Aviation Department taughts its customers to fly!!
Harrods was nicely described by the eyes of a child. Livestock Department would have been my favourite as a kid, although I'm not into parrots or parakeets. I doubt that macaws at that time could reach their 60 birthday in captivity. I'm very happy that parrots had to pass a test of not using bad language. Few humans would pass it nowadays.
There is no such dog breed as a Boston Bulldog, it is Boston Terrier. I admit, it looks like a small bulldog. President Niinistö has got one.
Nothing, absolutely nothing has changed in about 95 years:
'Lands and People' magazine wrote in 1920'ies to 'The Generation whose business it is to save Mankind': "We are marching towards a friendlier world, a better world, a world of peace instead of war, and one thing is needful, an understanding of each other..." Dream on. Last week over 80 people died under a terrorist's truck in Nice and Turkish Army tried to gain power over the president; 60 dead.
Newby wrote about his Jewish schoolmate who made his mom pay half a crown each time she wanted to kiss him good night - and he always had money. I would rather kiss a toad than a kid like that.
Newby was taken out of school for failing Maths. I can't remember if my Dad failed or merely had a low number, but his father got mad and said it is no use keeping a stupid boy at school, gives the family a bad name. It was wartime, so he was put to work in an ammunition factory. He saw a couple of his mates blewed up due to faulty ammunition and that makes you think school could actually be quite 'cool'. I am amazed that granny did nothing at first, she was a teacher herself after all. It was their maid who went to talk to granny instead of Dad doing it. It was agreed that he would study in secrecy and once all the exams were over he had jumped over two classes and graduated at 16 yrs. Gramps was angry first, as people had acted behind his back, but then he agreed Daddy could go back to school.

More places where I've been to: Italy, Hyde Park, Kensington High Street, Stockholm, Richmond, Aberdeen, Bridge of Sighs, Newmarket, Devon, Wiltshire, Salisbury plain / Stonehenge, Hammersmith, Channel Islands, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Suffolk, Inner Hebrides, Poland, Belgium, United States, Penzance, Mariehamn, Munich and Berchtesgaden. 


Journal Entry 8 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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Can't believe that he ended up as an apprentice on a boat from Åland! And that he has seen Pommern in action, I remember it well as a museum ship harboured in Mariehamn.

Places visited: Finland, the Åland islands and the Irish Sea. 


Journal Entry 9 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Saturday, July 23, 2016

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This is a very uneven book (if that is the correct word) - parts of it are interesting and some such a bore!

Ha, he mentioned old maps which stated: "Here will be dragons" of places not yet explored. We got a map of tick-borne diseases from a drug rep and some countries, like Moldavia and Russia, appear to have none, which of course is not true, they just do not give out information. We have the map on our wall at work so that people who travel with dogs remember to use tick-preventive products. I have written "There will be dragons" on the whiteness of Russia, which has amused some people.

More places I've seen: Gibraltar, Berlin, Tobermory, Mull, Norway, Dublin, Czech, Slovakia, Bohemia, Hanover, Birmingham, Bath, Plymouth, Windsor, Edinburgh, Stirling, Inverness and glorious Yorkshire.  


Journal Entry 10 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, July 24, 2016

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Like I said in the previous entry - going through Middle East was a drag and then all of a sudden he was telling interesting things about his correspondence with Evelyn Waugh. And so very English that he never went to introduce himself to Waugh, fearing it would be awkward.

The list is getting shorter: Somerset. 


Journal Entry 11 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, July 24, 2016

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This is the best!
In 1963 Newby and his wife went to India. They went shooting with two princes and things turned nasty, a sloth bear who had just lost its buddy was attacking Newby, who hadn't re-loaded his gun. One of the princes shot the bear with the only bullet he had.
Later Newby asked if there was anything the prince would really like for saving his life and when he said "Actually..." Newby had all sorts of fancy, expensive things going through his mind. "What I would really like, is Dog World the Christmas bumper issue. I can't get it here because of the currency regulations."

I know what he meant. I loved the fat Dog World Christmas issue, where all the top breeders had their ads. It is a mere shadow of its old self, thanks to Internet.  


Journal Entry 12 by kirjakko at Helsinki, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Sunday, July 24, 2016

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Finished!
He has been to some places I have no desire of going, like the Middle-East or Haiti (and the sewers under London), but yet again some familiar places or events were mentioned:
Mayfair, Green Park, Waterloo, Fleet Street, Oxford Street, Westminster Bridge, Embankment, Charring Cross, Piccadilly, Flask Walk, John Lewis, Orkney, Shetland, Kirkwall, Western Isles, Dartmoor, Austria, Strasbourg (will be there again in five days time), Marseille, Venice, Florence, Wimbledon, Rouen, Seine, Place de la Concorde, Loire and Tour de France (2014).
 


Journal Entry 13 by kirjakko at CroisiEurope - Gare fluviale in Strasbourg, Alsace France on Saturday, July 30, 2016

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Released 9 mos ago (7/30/2016 UTC) at CroisiEurope - Gare fluviale in Strasbourg, Alsace France

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Left in the wee "library" on the window cill of the Barge boat Madeleine.  


Journal Entry 14 by kirjakko at Waltenheim-sur-Zorn, Alsace France on Monday, August 01, 2016

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Still in the library. This is our barge boat Madeleine. 


Journal Entry 15 by kirjakko at Saverne, Alsace France on Monday, August 01, 2016

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Still in the boat's library, overlooking nice views. 


Journal Entry 16 by kirjakko at Saverne, Alsace France on Monday, August 01, 2016

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Still on the window cill. We went through hell and high water. 


Journal Entry 17 by kirjakko at Saverne, Alsace France on Monday, August 01, 2016

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The canal is actually quite busy.
Many of our 17 passengers have been interested in bookcrossing, but still the book remains untouched by human hands. We do have plenty to do offshore as well. Have I mentioned, this is a Kristina Cruises' trip. 


Journal Entry 18 by kirjakko at Lutzelbourg, Lorraine France on Monday, August 01, 2016

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And we a cruising on the 40-year-old Croisi Europe's 2-year-old barge. 


Journal Entry 19 by kirjakko at Péniche/Barge Madeleine in Canal de la Marne au Rhin, -- Ports, Waterways & Ships -- France on Monday, August 01, 2016

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Released 9 mos ago (8/1/2016 UTC) at Péniche/Barge Madeleine in Canal de la Marne au Rhin, -- Ports, Waterways & Ships -- France

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Some views are more interesting than others... 


Journal Entry 20 by kirjakko at Canal de la Marne au Rhin, -- Ports, Waterways & Ships -- France on Thursday, August 04, 2016

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We skipped 17 locks and a day's journey by taking the 4-minute-boat-elevator. 


Journal Entry 21 by kirjakko at Canal de la Marne au Rhin, -- Ports, Waterways & Ships -- France on Thursday, August 04, 2016

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After the elevator into the 2,3 km long tunnel, built in 1839-1849. 


Journal Entry 22 by kirjakko at Lagarde, Lorraine France on Thursday, August 04, 2016

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Destination termini. Ship boy Marco choose this final stop as his girlfriend lived here in the tiny village of Lagarde. Unfortunately somebody had spread pig manure on the fields and a rich aroma, stronger than that of the most expensive French cheeses, filled the air and every nostril. In the morning our bus was in Strasbourg and we in Lagarde. Shit happens.

The book has left the barge's library. Our group leader took it and will hopefully become an avid new Bookcrosser. Thank you for this memorable trip! 


Journal Entry 23 by kirjakko at Frankfurt am Main, Hessen Germany on Friday, August 05, 2016

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One more update from the Iron Bridge of Frankfurt. Free translation would be:
"Along water towards new languages." 


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