Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #19 – Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
This is one of those books that I was told that I “had to read,” because of my deep and abiding love for P.G. Wodehouse, Douglas Adams, and Jasper Fforde. Once someone tells me I have to do anything, I immediately don’t want to do it. Ever. So it took me quite a few years to eventually pick it up, and I am both glad that I did, and sorry I didn’t do it sooner.
For those of you in the know, this book was actually intended as a travel guide, for a summer jaunt up the Thames. The people in the book are real, although the dog is made up. They really did take a trip up the river, from Kingston to Oxford, which was apparently something people did back in the late 1800s, travelling in camper-type boats (which actually sounds pretty fun, if you don’t make some of the mistakes these chuckleheads do).
The gents are completely inept, and the dog is probably the only dog that behaves worse than my mutt (which is pretty impressive). They get into a number of scrapes, mostly involving very basic things like making dinner, which most people would be able to do without even thinking about it. Potatoes are particularly difficult:
never saw such a thing as potato-scraping for making a fellow in a mess. It seemed difficult to believe that the potato-scrapings in which Harris and I stood, half smothered, could have come off four potatoes. It shows you what can be done with economy and care.
George said it was absurd to have only four potatoes in an Irish stew, so we washed half-a-dozen or so more, and put them in without peeling. We also put in a cabbage and about half a peck of peas. George stirred it all up, and then he said that there seemed to be a lot of room to spare, so we overhauled both the hampers, and picked out all the odds and ends and the remnants, and added them to the stew. There were half a pork pie and a bit of cold boiled bacon left, and we put them in. Then George found half a tin of potted salmon, and he emptied that into the pot.
He said that was the advantage of Irish stew: you got rid of such a lot of things. I fished out a couple of eggs that had got cracked, and put those in. George said they would thicken the gravy.
I forget the other ingredients, but I know nothing was wasted; and I remember that, towards the end, Montmorency, who had evinced great interest in the proceedings throughout, strolled away with an earnest and thoughtful air, reappearing, a few minutes afterwards, with a dead water-rat in his mouth, which he evidently wished to present as his contribution to the dinner; whether in a sarcastic spirit, or with a genuine desire to assist, I cannot say.
Sorry for the long quote, but the whole thing had to be shared. If you haven’t read this book, please do. And I’m not saying you have to, but you should want to.