In Ethiopia with a Mule
So, while the mule carried sandwiches, water, a knife and a map, the human beside him shouldered a full backpack.
A book about a journey across northern England could turn out in several different ways. It could have offered material for a psycho-geography.
Yet another way would be to focus on the people met along the way, which is what Thomson has done. Thomson has a fine ear for dialogue and a love of the humorous and absurd: travelling with a mule provides plenty of cues. It turns out there is plenty of history along the way, which allows Thomson to summon the ghosts of travellers past, from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Alfred Wainwright, who did more than anyone to champion walking in this part of the world and who blazed the coast-to-coast trail Thomson follows.
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Mules are not the only things that have disappeared from our countryside and Thomson takes on the issues: the curse of EU subsidies that leave fields bare, the hardships of sheep farming, the breakdown of rural community life and the increasing restrictions of access to land that we could all have walked across not so long ago. Review : One of the supreme virtues of Dervla Murphy as a travel writer is that she is human.
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Observer Murphy's observation is acute, her self-effacement is disarming Sunday Times Book Description : A most intrepid travel writer goes on a perilous solo trek through distant and harsh Ethiopian lands. Buy New Learn more about this copy.
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