Looking at the front cover of The Gran Tour; Travels with my Elders will give you your first chuckle. It shows an elderly woman determinedly clutching a handbag and a li-lo, trudging through the sand to get a vantage point at the beach. She has an incredibly determined look about her. Although many years her junior, the Ben Aitken decided that he had much to learn from his elders and chose to do bus trips around the UK to immerse himself in the aged travelling sector.
One thing he does discover is that he will never feel left out. There are enough single people on the tour, who quickly become friendly (although at first, they did think he was the bus driver) and the couples are inclusive. Ben learns the art of playing Bingo as an after-dinner entertainment, winning the first night, to the disgust of the group.
Aitken travels on Shearings tours for the elderly to Scarborough, St Ives, Wales, Ireland, Italy, and Scotland. He takes his partner Megan on one of the tours, and his gran on another. There is a great deal of conversation in the book as Ben chats to anyone he can, interested in their story and happy to be a friendly ear. There are many chuckle moments in the story. Megan feels that old people have great ideas and should be consulted by powerful people. Ben says this already happens, “It’s called the House of Lords.”
If you are looking to get a sense of one of the places that the author travels to, then stop. This is really a brief look at another intriguing place, while engaging in revealing innermost thoughts of the elderly. Most engaging!
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|