Friday, December 23

Essentially English Christmas

Paradoxically, the Internet can be both personal and impersonal at the same time. Today, I choose to pick one of the latter circumstances and also do the first book review that has come from this blog. A few readers may remember a commenter named "Ham." Ham had an excellent cycling blog, which you might visit here. In addition, Ham did and DOES have other blogs, probably the most prominent of which is his "London Daily Photo."

Still, this post really isn't about what Ham has done (or NOT done), but it is about a little (litterally) book that one of his friends, Danny Bent (or Green), has done as a labour (sic in American) of love. Actually, he did it about three years ago.

Anyway, to skip a lot of details, Ham had a contest on London Daily Photo and I was fortunate enough to win. MR HAM reminded me that he needed my address to ship this mysterious book, titled "ESSENTIALLY ENGLISH." Hmm, might that have something to do with today's blog post?

After a lot of other stuff, a package arrived last Saturday, JUST IN TIME for Christmas. It was AMAZING at how many pictures of the Queen were needed to get such a package from London to Texas.

Twelve Pictures of the Queen Were Required. Note What the English Use Instead of Postmarks
The very first thing I did, once I opened the package, was to verify that this is a book currently available, and, sure enough, it IS listed at Then, I settled down. In view of the season, the one page seemed especially appropriate.

As it turned out, the book turned out to be a series of snapshots about what England is and has become. I was sad to hear about the double decker busses, and about the fate of the formerly ubiquitous phone booths. On reflection, it wasn't surprising, however. This book is one of what might have been called "high quality coffee table photo books," shrunk down to a much more convenient size. Personally, I liked it very much, and felt it represented good value for the money for someone who, like myself, likes the English and their occasionally quirky characteristics.

And, regardless, it was touching to find out more about Dan Bent/Green, and the man who sent the book to me. Ham. Merry Christmas.

As for Ham's cycling blog:

Ham to me, RXXX

Cyclesafe&happy? It's not dead, its lack of movement is due to it being tired and shagged out after a long squawk. To be exact, this period of inactivity coincided with me changing roles within IBM to work at the company I am in at the moment which is very demanding. Combined with the commitment to London Daily Photo (which at some point transmutes into my retirement plan, as it publicises me when I transmute into a Blue Badge London Guide, including cycle tours) something had to give. On the other hand, the journey reduced from 27 miles each way to 18, so it is easier doing it every day, although it is still cross town.

Oddly, it was this last couple of weeks I have been considering reviving it again, if only sporadically, I may just do that now.

And yes, I would like to help Danny, he has such enthusiasm, such commitment, makes you proud to be human. I think you'd enjoy his book, too. Not because it's great literature, but because you want to be there, too.

Small book will wing its way,


Sometimes the Internet really IS small and personal. Again, have a Happy Christmas all!


Pondero said...

Cool story, well told. You were missed last Saturday.

Dog Friendly Dallas said...

I've read Danny's inspiring book "You've Gone Too Far This Time Sir" about his bicycle journey from England to India. Thanks for the review of "Essentially English". I'll have to check that out.

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