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Book Review: The Pull Of The River

You should read this while crammed onto a commuter train - it is the right kind of transporting. When author Matt Gaw's handy mate crafts a vessel 'the colour of Mae West's lips' an idea of escape and discovery is launched. The two embark on a mission to take time out for adventure, exploring Britain's 'vascular bundle of rivers and tributaries' by canoe.

The watery journey takes place in fits and starts - this book is honest about the demands of day-to-day life. Every moment is treasured: 'Following the meander is one of the most contented experiences of my life. It is deliriously beautiful'. Gaw experiences some lovely one-offs. A flock of lapwings tumbles out of a storm cloud. On a solo journey he falls asleep to the sound of a beaver gnawing a tree. In wild solitude he experiences a sense of being able to hear even the earthworms. This writer has good license to use a simili. A pike is a 'green torpedo packed with a mouthful of needles'…

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