Starston to Starston (via the USA)

We’re home – our Trans-American trip completed. Sitting on the plane in San Francisco airport on Sunday morning I was interested to note that the flying distance home from there (by whatever route the planes use) was somewhere in the region of 5,800 miles. We drove 5,866 miles in our trip from Washington DC to San Francisco and it took us just over 4 weeks. The plane did the same distance (more or less) in 10 hours. Not a fair comparison, I suppose, just one of those little oddities of life.

Holly

“And where do you think you’ve been?”

We were greeted (if that is the word) by a deeply suspicious cat. Holly does not do people and she had clearly had a traumatic 5 weeks with strange people coming into the house to sort out post, water our plants and handle all the Crimson Cats book orders. Our lovely neighbour, Rachel, who was feeding Holly for us and is herself a cat lover, described her interaction with Holly as a “hiss and cuddle relationship”. Holly clearly resented her but still craved the affection she normally demands from us. I should add that having been deeply suspicious of us when we first walked in, within half an hour she (Holly, that is, not Rachel), was lying across our knees purring loud enough to be heard in Yellowstone Park. Probably frightened the bears.

Everyman's EnglandHolly clearly regards travel as totally unnecessary but we love it. New places, new people, a break from ordinary routine, a chance to refresh both body and mind. Accounts of people’s travels often make good reading as well. We currently have 2 travel titles in the Crimson Cats range – Everyman’s England by Victor Canning and Hippos, Hairpins and High Button Boots by Mary Kingsley.

Hippos, Hairpins & HIgh Button BootsGood travel writing is not just about the places visited, but also about the experience of the person doing the visiting. Victor Canning was best known as a writer of thrillers but his journeys round England in the 1930′s, the observations he made and the people he met, give us a pin-sharp picture of the country before the 2nd World War. In contrast Mary Kingsley’s journeys along the rivers of West Africa in the late 19th century to collect specimens of fish and makes notes of local religions show us a very different world. In particular her battles with French customs officials and crocodiles are very funny.

We would like to publish more travel titles but it is difficult to find good material that fits the Crimson Cats criteria – interesting, different, not currently available in audio, probably out of print. Most contemporary travel writing is ruled out as the good stuff is already in the hands of the major publishers. We did look briefly at an Englishwoman (whose name escapes me) who left England to go and live in the Rockies in western America in the 19th century and kept a diary of her experiences. It sounded promising but in reality was rather dull. As I’ve said before in these Blogs, not everyone can write in such a way to entertain and captivate an audience. Victor Canning and Mary Kingsley achieve it magnificently, the Rockies lady did not.

If anyone has any suggestions for good travel writing we might consider, then pleased get in touch. In fact if you want to comment on any of these Blogs, then please do so. The Blog itself is not interactive but an email to editor@crimsoncats.co.uk will always find me and all emails will be answered.

Michael

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