Part of the Millennium Park is under renovation and as a result you don’t see as many Bunnies as you normally would in the Parks. But this lil fellow/gal was out scurrying in the cold rain and I just happened to cross his/her path.
Notes from a Small Island is perhaps one of the most popular of Bryson’s book next only to “A Short History of Everything”. Having had the opportunity to experience London culture in the past, I was excited to learn more about Britain through Bryson. And this book didn’t disappoint me for most part. Bryson’s travels by the road and the rail offer a rare glimpse into the commonplace lives of the British. What they also offer is a glimpse into the stark reality of modern high rises and shopping malls that form a jarring pattern with the classic and antiquated architecture evokes a rather sad nostalgia for the bygone grandeur. While this trend can be seen in every one of the old metropolis, it tells the story of another era that is fast being relegated to antiquity.
Bryson paints a very realistic picture of each and every town, village and city he visits, highlighting the best and the not-so-great aspects. The only gripe that I had was this kind of journalistic dialogue became a bit overwhelming after the first 100 pages. The genteel humor that is sprinkled very thoughtfully is hard to miss, especially if you have been to some part of the UK at least once in your lifetime.
In fact, on my trip to the Zion National Park recently, I overheard a very British grandma trying to answer her over-inquisitive grandson’s (a toddler) fundamental question of the moment “Where is Mummy?” and the dialogue went something like this –
Toddler: “Where is mummy? Can we go to mummy?”
Grandma: “Mummy’s down with daddy taking pictures. Lets wait here for Mummy.”
Grandson: “where is grand dad?”
Grandma: “Your grand dad’s just over there. Now sit still.”
Grandson (not listening to a word) repeats: “Where is mummy? Is that mummy over there?”
And the response repeats in the same cycle for atleast a couple of times till the grand dad returns and hearing the question from the toddler, ambles away again leaving an irate granny with the baby.
The whole exchange occurred at Dante’s Peak at Sunset. But it reminded me of London and all the snobbery associated with the City. While I’m confident I’ll pick up Bryson’s more popular title “A Short HIstory of Nearly Everything”, it may not actually be until winter. The humor will definitely take you by surprise so do give this book a try!
May 2014 has been a busy time as R&I covered 5 National Parks, of which Zion was one. This photo of the Virgin River was taken on our hike to the Emerald Pools. Visit Stillr.com to view more pictures from our trip.