More books by Keith Harris
In his latest book Keith has travelled far from the boundaries of Europe, and
it' s not about boats!
Rather about railways - the iconic, romantic, ridiculously chaotic Indian Railways. Keith recounts the story of two trips to the southern end of this vast Continent, to the tourist hotspots of Kerala and Goa on the Arabian Sea in the West, via the seething metropolis that is Bombay , to Chennnai (formerly Madras), the French enclave of Pondicherry on the Bay of Bengal in the east, and a trip on the Toy Train to Ooty.
The book is typically peppered with Keith's forthright opinions about anything and everything, with amusing stories and anecdotes about the crazy Indians and their equally crazy Country.
In the Pipeline .....
This is one I've been working up to for a couple of years. It will follow our trips around the 2000 odd miles of the English canals from Godalming in Surrey to York, from our first holiday hire from North Kilworth in 1976 when we circumnavigated the Warwickshire Ring, through various trips with hired, borrowed, begged, but never stolen, craft of all shapes and sizes, until in 1986 I bought my first 'proper' narrowboat from Stoke-on-Trent.
The book will tell the story of our many voyages, or 'crooooses,' as Scragg used to call them, and our encounters over the years.
I particularly wanted to write this book in an attempt to document the many changes that have taken place over the years, thanks largely to a huge increase in awareness from endless TV documentaries and the advent of social media. Unlikely celebrities from John Sargeant to Timothy West have for better or worse, brought the canals into everyones' lives. Fake news that has given the impression to the uninitiated that canals offer a carefree, inexpensive and unregulated way of life.
News and information is available on dozens of social forums and websites and the number of licensed boats gradually filling up all the moorings in the 'hotspots' as risen to over 30000.
British Waterways was superseded by the Canal & River Trust in 2012 in an attempt to produce much-needed private funding for the preservation of the ancient and now over-used infrastructure. In 2019 I spent two months on the canals to find out for myself whether all the negative posts on the forums about break-ins, vandalism and anti-social behaviour between fellow boaters were warranted. I travelled from Stourport on the Staffs & Worcester and then to Llangollen before returning via the Trent & Mersey to complete the circle at Adderley Junction. To discover what I found you'll have to wait for the book.
And that's another Thing.....
The seeds for the idea for this book were sewn after watching a couple of episodes of the 'Grumpy Old Men' series on the TV several years ago. Grumpy? They don't know the meaning of the word!. 'Mild Complaints from Senile Geriatrics' would be a more appropriate title. I would like to see a new version. How about "Totally Pissed Off Old Twats.'
Material for this book turns up every day of the week as our little world becomes more and more farcical. Little escapes the ascerbic wit of the author as he methodically ridicules the ridiculous state of society today.
Police, Motorways, Road Travel, Train Travel, Airports, Health & Safety, PC, Sport, Politics, Tourists, Corruption, the French, the Thais, Folk Festivals, Internet, Radio, TV, Hotel Mini Bar prices, The Army, Blatant Inefficiency .... the list goes on. Nothing and no-one is spared the hilarious dissection of the lunatics who are running the asylum.
It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, but most importantly it will make you realise that you are not the only one continually frustrated and totally pissed off with the bureaucracy and pathetic rules and regulations that strive to make our lives a misery. You'll see that you're not the only person in the world who has held on to a help line for 45 minutes and listened to 'your call is important to us" five hundred times.
None of your nimby pimby, mamby pamby, haughty taughty, faffing around, beat-about - the-bush mutterings here. Just full bloodied, no holds barred tell it like it is. Keith calls a spade a gardening implement, and damn the consequences!
And if all that hasn't whetted your appetite you probably won't like the book anyway.
It's going to be rude, blunt, totally politically incorrect, sexist, sizeist, blasphemous and not to be missed.