I tell you, if you have yet to discover Chris Stewart, you are in for a treat! ‘Last Days of the Bus Club‘ is the latest in the series of auto-biographical works which began with ‘Driving Over Lemons‘.
Chris, together with his wife, Ana, upped sticks and moved to Las Alpujarras in Southern Spain. The first book tells the tale of their early years in ‘El Valero’, a remote farm. Surrounded by orange and lemon trees, sheep and peasants, the couple begin to carve out a life for themselves. A life, it turns out, full of major and minor disasters, colourful characters and endless optimism. 3 books later and by the time of ‘Last Days of the Bus Club‘, Chris and Ana’s daughter, Chloe, is leaving home for University in Granada, opening up a new phase of life for her and her parents. The Stewarts make their living at Casa Ana from organic oranges, farming and writing, plus various diverse activities such as hosting walking tours and cookery classes.
Now I don’t think that Chris Stewart’s life is any funnier than mine. It’s just that he spins a great yarn; he would make a fabulous dinner-party guest! His descriptions of the characters he encounters, landscape, journeys, wildlife, conversations are filled with rich and endearing details which bring everything sharply into focus. On top of which, Chris’ writing is hilarious. Well, to me it is. I understand that humour is subjective but I defy anyone not to laugh out loud as he recounts time spent on a building site with a load of uncouth louts, of trying to find a 4B pencil in Granada and of the visit from the Critchley Road kids. The author is not laughing at other people, though – his humour is self-deprecating, poking fun at his own shortcomings. If you are not sure whether you are tempted enough by my review to buy a book, I suggest you check out Chris’ own blog, as it gives you the idea of the way he writes.
The book also has photos – mostly of sheep and oranges, but they break up the text nicely!
I note that there is an audio version of the books and I honestly cannot think of a better source of entertainment for a journey, particularly if the destination happened to be Spain!