Troubador Strip Pan Wrinkle

Released: 27/01/2014

ISBN: 9781783060375

eISBN: 9781783068975

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Strip Pan Wrinkle

In Namibia and Botswana


Strip Pan Wrinkle (in Namibia and Botswana) is an account of a five-week expedition made by Brian (of Brahmaputra fame) and his wife, Sandra, as they drive their Land Cruiser in an extended loop through Namibia, Botswana and a little bit of Zambia.

As with all of the other books in David Fletcher’s ‘Brian’s World’ series, the account is rather more than a day-by-day diary of their trip. It is also an insight into each of the countries visited, an exploration of what wildlife one might encounter in these countries and, above all else, an exercise in humour. It isn’t, therefore, a standard travelogue. Instead, with Brian’s experiences – and his contemplations – chronicled in a manner which is more wry than comprehensive, it is very much an amusing travelogue.

It contains a consideration of how much our own Royal Mail is subsiding the Botswanan Post Office, an evaluation of the ugliness of the human form when compared to that of a leopard and a reflection on the efficacy of protecting rhinos by poisoning their horns with arsenic. Furthermore, there is a review of the failings of democracies and a suggestion that wild-dog dynamics might constitute a better model for the conduct of human affairs, and even an examination of the outcome of a reverse takeover of Disneyland by the Church of England. So not really a standard travelogue at all...

Strip Pan Wrinkle (in Namibia and Botswana) is the fifth book in David’s seven-part series that details Brian and Sandra’s travels to Assam, Syria, Borneo, Cape Verde, Namibia/Botswana and Morocco – and in due course, Zambia.

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In one respect, this travel memoir could be described as a diary of a trip through Namibia and Botswana, with a brief detour into Zambia, in that each chapter covers a day’s experiences. In another, its third person narrative means that it reads like a work of fiction. This latter device, with the author assuming the identity of middle-aged English traveler, Brian, allows a certain poetic licence in describing the events of the trip and commenting on the people met on the way.

This is soft adventure travel of the kind we can all enjoy, in which Brian and his long-suffering wife, Sandra, drive a 4x4 vehicle for long distances on rough roads in remote country to destinations described as bush camps, but consisting of ‘tent-like structures’ housing hardships ranging from en-suite facilities to four-poster beds with magnificent views from the balconies. Between negotiating feral donkeys and chaotic border posts, they meet other travellers from several countries, encounters which allow Brian free reign to take side-swipes at everything that irritates him, including national stereotypes, politicians, bankers, the cult of celebrity and the inanities of popular television, while remaining painfully aware of his own shortcomings.

And there is, of course, the wildlife, which is the main purpose of the journey. This comprises an abundance of just about every animal and bird for which Africa is famous, plus a few more, in such places as Etosha, Makgadikgadi and Nxai National Parks and the amazing wetlands of the Okavango Delta. I would like to have seen more of the excellent photographs, and a map would have removed my need to continually refer to an atlas to follow Brian’s and Sandra’s progress. But these are minor niggles. This is an attractively produced book, humorous, informative and always highly entertaining. It makes one want to go to see these wonderful places for oneself.

by Anthony Toole

More than a day-by-day diary of a trip. It is also an insight into each of the countries visited, an exploration of what wildlife one might encounter in these countries and, above all else, an exercise in humour. Not a standard travelogue. Chronicled in a manner which is more wry than comprehensive, it is very much an amusing travelogue.

by Julie Welsh

 David Fletcher

Securing a degree in chemistry, well before the days of modular exams, was a very good start for David, and his using this degree to embark on a lifetime career in accountancy seemed, at the time, like the best next step to take. And in a way it was. Becoming a partner in one of the world's 'Big Four' firms of accountants proved to be surprisingly interesting and constantly challenging.

However, over the years, a belief became fixed in David's mind that he hadn't been put on this Earth just to provide opinions on financial statements but also to provide opinions on human nature. Not pompously or even vehemently - but in the only way he knew how: through humour.

So he started to write - and in this writing to focus particularly on what the nature of human nature was doing to the nature of the natural world - first through some 'sci-fi humour' and latterly through some 'travelogue humour'.

He doesn't claim to be some sort of jokey Cassandra - as he is only too aware that both his thinking and his writing is riddled with serious self-doubt. So he is quite relaxed about whether his opinions get through to his readers - or not - just as long as in the process of reading his books they all have a jolly good laugh. Because, with what he and the rest of his species are visiting on this planet, one thing he doesn't have any doubt about whatsoever is that sooner rather than later, we will all need to develop our ability to have a jolly good laugh indeed - even if it is of the somewhat hollow variety...

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