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474 pages, Paperback
First published October 8, 2015
What a joy walking is. All the cares of life, all the hopeless inept fuckwits that God has strewn along the Bill Bryson Highway of Life suddenly seem far away and harmless, and the world becomes tranquil and welcoming and good.
I stared at her for a long moment with something like awe, then raised my walking stick high in the air and calmly beat her to death (on encountering a woman who haughtily refused to deal with her dog poo)
‘But then again’, I pointed out, ‘your shop is kind of a dump, you didn’t say hello when I came in and you give every appearance of being a miserable old git’ (not said to the proprietor of a small shop lamenting big-box stores)
‘Well you know what, you are a spoiled, brainless fuckhead,’ I said. Actually I didn’t say that, I just thought it. Instead I muttered some pathetic lamentation in the British style and just hung up. (to a supercilious young woman, unconcerned that patrons of a shop had been left standing in the rain)
Am I wrong or is this becoming a feature of British life – and I mean by that behaving in quietly disgraceful ways when you think no one is watching?
... I just thought: is that really what we have come to now, in this cheap shittily dispiriting age - that we can’t even afford a few shrubs in a planter?This was occasioned by a visit to Durham Cathedral where he observed that 11th-century artisans lived in an infinitely poorer era yet had had not only the ability to create such a magnificent building, but the foresight to allow for a forty-year settling of the lintels and jambs to create a structure that would not be perfectly aligned until years after their death.