Ladies of the Grand Tour by Brian Dolan

Or “Broadening Broads Abroad” as it should have been called, ha ha ha ha. This is of course about a time when travel actually still had the capacity to broaden the mind. I must admit I’ve only read the first 3 chapters properly, but I didn’t have the time to do a proper review before this Blog moves on, so what you gonna do? A nice read on holiday, when the only thing that’s broadening my mind is the possibility that engineers within the same economic zone as my own residence haven’t worked out sanitary plumbing that allows you to flush toilet paper down the toilet. YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT? Carefully dispose of it in a bin? So i’m to keep a bin-load of shitty paper in the apartment. Fine.

Sorry, got distracted there. It’s a simple, academic-ish read, and it certainly educated me about the earlier movers in the fight for female equality and emancipation. Mary Wollstonecraft and the like. Aw, bless! It is sobering to be reminded of the suffocation of women’s intellectual rights, of a time when it was seen as macho to travel, to be a connoisseur of world culture. Ironic considering that in my experience, it’s now the women who actually organise the holiday, worry about the packing, and the money exchange, and stamp their pretty little feet in frustration when the men (or is it just me) say “Don’t worry, I can pack in 30 minutes. And I’ll just add my toothbrush to your toilet bag – that’ll do me”

So yes, the past is a different country, but the point is you don’t need a bleeding time machine to broaden your mind about the past do you? I look forward to the time when the internet makes traveling-to-tour redundant. Then maybe we won’t use up so much fuel travelling everywhere by aeroplane, and the ice caps won’t melt and drown it all anyway.