Published: 01/07/2013
ISBN: 9781783060061
eISBN: 9781783069828
Format: Paperback/eBook

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Northumbrian born and bred - Morpeth Grammar Schol - National Service in Malaya - University College Durham - taught French in Sheffield & Blackburn. After early retirement, set up 'Anglo-French Walks... read more

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Walking With Harry In Chamonix
by John W. Winter

Walking with Harry in Chamonix, a sequel to the author’s humourous novel Walking with Harry, follows the adventures of a rambling club as they head off to the French Alps

When Monique invites Thurston Ramblers to Chamonix, the club’s zealous president, Mrs Olive Lavinia Johnston, referred to as O.L. by Harry Birch, is delighted. Harry, a constant thorn in her flesh, prefers low-level, fine-weather walks to sweating up mountains. No-one expects him to sign up for Chamonix. Yet he does, to O.L.’s dismay.

To re-invent himself in order to impress Monique, Harry hires a personal trainer to lose weight and get fit. On training walks in the Dales and Lakes he amazes O.L. but fellow members of the club speculate on how long the fragile truce between them can last.

After a journey fraught with mishaps, O.L. is exhilarated by the mountain scenery when they are met by Monique at her uncle’s hotel outside Chamonix. Harry revels in his role as the life and soul of the party, but during the walks, problems arise: O.L.’s impatience with the plodders and her reluctance to accept Monique’s leadership, Penny’s vertigo, Joyce’s horror of chair-lifts, Bert’s crumbling boots, a torrential storm and minor accidents, all combine to threaten the success of the trip.

John W. Winter has drawn on his 25 years experience leading walks in the UK and France to create the humourous novel Walking with Harry in Chamonix, which will appeal to walkers, ramblers and anyone who enjoys a good chuckle.

Of all the ramblers in the club
Harry’s the one you’ll find in the pub,
Knocking back Guinness and chatting up birds,
A sociable fella and ne’er short of words.

In latest gear, he cuts a dash -
You cannot fault him for panache -
His shiny boots and flashy shirts
Are much admired, unlike Bert’s

Alas, too fond of cakes and ale,
Harry begins to drag and trail.
If weather isn’t warm and sunny
He’ll not come out for love nor money.

And when he does, for good or ill,
He struggles up the slightest hill.
In vain does Olive turn about
To urge him pull his finger out.

And then one day - you’ll not believe me -
He says he’s up for Chamonix!
I kid you not! You may well jeer,
Harry Birch, a mountaineer?

Now what, you ask, caused this to pass?
I’ll tell you, friends, it was a lass!
A lass whose Gallic charm and glamour
Left Harry in a huge dilemma.

But not for long: he smartens up, gets fit,
Takes classes to improve his French a bit,
Impresses all, stern Olive too.
Farewell old Harry, hail Harry new!

He loses weight, cuts down on ale,
Strides briskly over hill and dale.
Climbs Pen-y-Ghent and Scafell Pike,
Come rain or snow, keeps pace with Mike.

The moral of this tale, says Syd,
If you would change as Harry did,
Is plain as bread and jam.
First find the lady, Cherchez la Femme!

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Very pleased by the comments I've had about 'Walking with Harry.'

"a really great read" - "flows so smoothly & each character comes alive" -"couldn't put it down" - liked the verbal spats between Harry and O.L. -"looking forward to your next one."

Well, here it is:"WALKING WITH HARRY IN CHAMONIX," - publication date, July 1st, 2013. Harry, he who prefers low-level strolls, walking in the Alps?? Find out why, how he re-invents himself, how he copes in the French Alps and how O.L. re-acts to the born again Harry

I'm presenting the book at Blackburn Library on Wednesday, September 4th at2 p.m.

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In the second of his 'Walking with Harry' series, the author takes his mixed crew of Thurston Ramblers to the French Alps after describing their training walks in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District
The underlying theme of this vividly described story is the tension between the domineering - and remarkably fit - president of the club, Mrs Olive Lavinia Jonstone (O.L.) and the less than athletic Harry Birch who, in the first book, was much more interested in gentle strolls, tea-shops and pub breaks than vigorous walking. To everyone's surprise, Harry signs up for Chamonix, motivated by a middle-age yearning fir the beautiful Monique who had offered to lead the walks, even hiring a personal trainer to get fit. Whether or not he 'gets the girl,' I leave the reader to discover.
I found the book very entertaining and particularly enjoyed the amusing banter between Harry, Bert and other members of the club. anyone contemplating a walking holiday in Chamonix will be inspired by the descriptions of the breath-taking, mountainous terrain

by Peter Wrigley


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