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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

Last Days of the Bus Club by Chris Stewart

bookshelves: summer-2014, published-2014, radio-4, nonfiction, spain, lifestyles-deathstyles, autobiography-memoir

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 26 to July 04, 2014




Description: The eponymous Bus Club is the author's term for the three fathers, of which he is one, who meet each morning when they drop their children at the school bus stop. Chris Stewart's daughter Chloe is in her final year at school and times will soon be changing for the author.

In his latest memoir, Chris once again taps into the rich seam of story-telling in the Alpujarras Hills, and brings us tales that are, by turns, warm, funny and moving.

Chris Stewart had a brief flirtation with fame as the drummer in Genesis. But he was, by his own admission, not a very good drummer. After college, he embarked on a peripatetic career that saw him travelling across Europe in a converted ambulance, and playing drums in a circus, before becoming a sheep farmer in deepest Sussex.

In the early days of the Rough Guides, he persuaded the originator and publisher of the series, Mark Ellingham, to let him write the guide to China, and so began his career as a writer.

Over 20 years ago, Chris and his wife Ana settled in the Alpujarras region of Andalucia, buying their own farm. Their experiences in the remote region formed the basis of his first memoir in 1999, 'Driving Over Lemons', which became an international best-seller.

Writer and Reader: Chris Stewart
Abridger: Pete Nichols

Producer: Karen Rose
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

1/5: Chris's daughter is set to leave home, and the days of the school bus club are numbered.

2/5 Guests staying at Chris Stewart's farm persuade him to put an earth roof on the house.

That roof.

3/5 A moving story from pal Rogelio, convinces Chris to compile an anthology of such stories.

Ana and Chris Stewart at their Alpujarran hill farm. By Jon Clarke. Bone dry and with little vegetation, desertification had come knocking at its door, ...

4/5 Andalucia is a region racked with droughts, but one winter the downpour was biblical.

5/5 In the wake of the disastrous rainstorm, Chris attempts to get things back to normal.

Another gentle read, and if like me, you have followed Chris and Ana through their life, they feel as close as friends in comfy slippers. Lovely.

3* Driving over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia
4* A Parrot in the Pepper Tree: A Sequel to "Driving Over Lemons"
4* The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society
2* Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat
3* Last Days of the Bus Club