Around England with a Dog by Lesley Choyce

“The story of two seasoned and intrepid Canadian travellers, Lesley and Linda Choyce, who embark on a new adventure with their West Highland terrier, Kelty. Join the Choyces as they hurtle around the U.K. in search of history (all kinds), good food (mostly Indian), quirky destinations (the smaller and weirder the better), and places for the dog to pee. All while waiting for the imminent arrival of new grandchildren back home in Canada. Ever wondered what a Nova Scotian surfer/wood-splitter/Renaissance man/Westie owner thinks of the U.K.? Now you can find out.”

I’ve spent a lot of time exploring Britain. It’s a part of the planet I love, and feel I know well. I even recognize regional accents now on BritBox while watching my cozy mysteries. (Apart from the Swedes, no one does enticingly creepy TV murders better.) In Around England with a Dog, we accompany author-publisher Lesley Choyce, along with spouse Linda and their pet, for an engaging road trip around that same bit of globe – what I’d call a regional Grand Tour, if such a thing exists. If not, it should. And perhaps does now. In which case I’d like to believe I invented it. Regardless. Let’s set the scene for the Choyces’ adventure with this, from the book’s Prologue.

“Linda and I were probably sharing a bottle of wine on a Friday afternoon after I had finished teaching my university creative writing class when the idea first came to me. I had decided to take the upcoming fall semester off and wanted a “project” – which usually meant writing a new book. We were also looking for some form of adventure – an extended trip somewhere, somewhere that we knew we already liked. We narrowed it down to Italy, France, England, Scotland or Ireland. A full month in a foreign country.

“But what about Kelty?” Linda asked. “Do we really want to leave our dog for that long?”
That put a wrench in the works. “No,” I said, bolstered by the glass of Apothic Red. “We’ll take the dog with us.”
“Could be complicated.”
“We’ll sort it out,” I said. “How complicated can it be?”
“It’s settled, then,” Linda said. “Which country?”
“Well, if we’re taking the dog, we should keep it simple. No flight connections. One nonstop flight.”
“Then it’s England,” I said. “We’re going to England. We’ll get a camper and circumnavigate as much of England as we can. And I’ll write a book about it. Call it
Around England with a Dog.”
And that was more or less that.

But it wasn’t that simple.”

If you enjoy armchair escape and travel writing like that of Monisha Rajesh or Tony Hawks with a Bryson-esque view of the world, that being a fascination with all things British by someone from elsewhere, this book makes an enjoyable, satisfying read. It won’t change the world. But of course that’s not its objective. It’s one traveller’s take on experiencing some new places and things, alongside others all too familiar, witnessed with an open mind, unending wit, and an ease of descriptive, winsome wordplay. So remember to buckle up, keep the car on the left, and enjoy this welcoming ride.

*Around England with a Dog will be available September 27th, 2022, but may be pre-ordered now.

Lesley Choyce is the author of more than 100 books of literary fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and young adult novels. He runs Pottersfield Press and has worked as editor with a wide range of Canadian authors. Choyce has been teaching English and creative writing at Dalhousie and other universities for over thirty years. He has won the Dartmouth Book Award, the Atlantic Poetry Prize, and the Ann Connor Brimer Award, and has been short-listed for the Stephen Leacock Medal and the Governor-General’s Award. He surfs year round in the North Atlantic. He lives in Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia.

  • Title: Around England with a Dog
  • Author: Lesley Choyce
  • Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books, 2022
  • ISBN: 9781771604512
  • Pgs: 312

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Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of A Season on Vancouver Island, theGone Viking travelogues, andA Perfect Day for a Walk: The History, Cultures, and Communities of Vancouver, on Foot(Arsenal Pulp Press, Fall 2024). Recipient of a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions, Bill’s a frequent presenter and contributor to magazines, universities, podcasts, TV and radio. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land.