Forest Of Memories
By Donald MacIntosh
As a child, Donald MacIntosh's heroine was Mary Kingsley, a nineteenth century traveller who successfully took on the forbidding forests and swamps of West Africa. It was an adventure he was to follow for much of his adult life, spending thirty years as a forester in the so-called 'white man's grave'. MacIntosh, however, more than lived to tell his tales, which he does so here with characteristic gusto and relish.Here are stories of a somewhat salty nature, both in style and subject matter. In Africa, MacIntosh writes, the sea never sleeps and Forest of Memories is equally vibrant. As always, the tales are rich with characters and humour: Laval, the temperamental but highly successful fishing baboon; Jig-time Charlie, ladies' man and local footballing legend; and the beautiful Titi, who employed both feminine guile and cat droppings to win an international angling competition.As sharp and cutting as the teeth of the tigerfish, this latest collection finds Donald MacIntosh in splendidly wicked form once again.
Facing The Congo
By Jeffrey Tayler
At thirty-three one's direction in life should be clear, and mine was not.' In search of some direction, or at least a new challenge, Jeffrey Tayler gave up his day job of opening rejection letters from publishers and went exploring. Having always been fascinated by Africa and the great age of Victorian exploration he went to Kinshasa in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and found a boat to take him up-river to Kisangani, deep in the heart of the jungle. Not content with that, he then bought a pirogue (a kind of canoe), hired a guide and set out to paddle the 1,000 miles back to Kinshasa.A personal journey, an intrepid voyage, an exceptionally well-written travelogue: FACING THE CONGO is all these things and more. A wonderfully vivid and exciting read for armchair adventurers everywhere.
Frost On My Moustache
By Tim Moore
Inspired by the swashbuckling travelogues of Victorian diplomat Lord Dufferin, frail surburbanite Tim Moore sets out to prove his physical and spiritual worth before his sceptical Nordic in-laws by retracing Dufferin's epic voyage to Iceland and Spitzbergen. Dufferin's battles with icebergs, polar bears and the deep potations of hospitable Norsemen is a tale of derring-do; Moore's struggle against seasickness, vertigo and over-priced groceries is all too plainly one of derring-don't. As his bid to emulate the Empire tradition of fearless pluck in the face of adversity crumbles before haughty Icelandic skippers, a convoy of Norwegian Vikings and Spitzbergen's Soviet ghost towns, he finds himself transferring his affections to Dufferin's valet Wilson, a man so profoundly gloomy that 'he was seen to smile but once, when told that his colleague, the steward, had been almost thrown overboard'. As Moore says, 'Dufferin seems the personification of Kipling's 'If'. I'm more of a 'But... ' man myself.' FROST ON MY MOUSTACHE is the wretched apologia of a big earl's blouse.
The Far Corner
By Harry Pearson
A book in which Wilf Mannion rubs shoulders with The Sunderland Skinhead: recollections of Len Shakleton blight the lives of village shoppers: and the appointment of Kevin Keegan as manager of Newcastle is celebrated by a man in a leather stetson, crooning 'For The Good Times' to the accompaniment of a midi organ, THE FAR CORNER is a tale of heroism and human frailty, passion and the perils of eating an egg mayonnaise stottie without staining your trousers.
French Lessons In Africa
By Peter Biddlecombe
Having travelled across West Africa for over ten years, Peter Biddlecombe's often hilarious account of a long and lingering liaison dangereuse with the sixty per cent of the continent that is French-speaking is a highly readable, hugely entertaining introduction to the je ne sais quoi of French Africa.In countries such as Togo, Mali and Burkina Faso, Biddlecome encounters old-fashioned camel butchers, modern witch doctors who run mail-order companies, gold smugglers and counterfeiters who send their sons to Oxford. He also experiences a delicious foie gras of places: from eerie voodoo ceremonies in the old slave port of Ouidah to Italian ice-cream parlors in the middle of the Sahara desert.And Biddlecombe reveals not only Francophone Africa's politics, often bizarre business traditions and culture, but also provides a mass of practical advice on everything from how to eat a water-rat to talking your way through a road block in the middle of an attempted coup.