Although it looks like a guide to local rambles this is actually a very unusual, amusing novel. Graham Underhill is, on the surface, a relentlessly positive, avid walker married to a young, beautiful Bengali wife. Blind to her infidelities, or so it seems, he leads us through a series of 15 walks. At first Graham's voice feels pompous and pedantic but as more of his personal life creeps into the narrative the book becomes much more enjoyable.
For some reason, in the few minutes since our show of high jinks in the coach park, Sunita's simulated ill-humour seemed to have shaded into the real thing, and refusing my offer of a morale-boosting Fruit Pastille she remained submerged in a sullen silence, lagging uncharacteristically far behind as I turned left at the end of the track and followed Church Lane up to its junction with the Alcester Road. Ramblers are advised to take greater care crossing this busy A-route than I did when, anxious that my sulky sweetheart might not have realised that a cycle route stood between her and the safety of the central reservation, I stopped and turned, failing to notice the blue Isuzu van turning right out of a hidden side street, at speed. Its driver might, in my opinion, have restricted himself to a single short parp on his horn, as opposed to the vigorous masturbatory mime with which he felt it necessary to express his displeasure. Still, it was quite funny, and if I was a little bemused by the hard edge to Sunita's laughter, as she passed me on the opposite pavement, better that than to have risked her being mown down by a negligent cyclist.