This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Saturday Rave: A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby.

This is a good book.

No, you don't have to take my word for it, for here's a quotation from a waspish expert. The preface to A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush is written by Evelyn Waugh (ah, so Eric Newby was friends with Evelyn Waugh, was he? No, he wasn't. Waugh read the book by mistake, thinking it was by someone else).

'Mr Newby has delighted the heart of one whose travelling days are done.'

Right then, so do you want your heart delighted? Then read this book.

What's it about?  The acknowledgements will surely give us a clue, and they thank the Afghan Government, Vogue magazine, and Wilfred Thesiger.

Vogue magazine? Well, our intrepid explorer of remote and rugged mountains discovers at the very beginning of the book 'what everyone connected with it had been telling me all along, that the Fashion Industry was not for me,'

What Newby intends to do is go to a land where few Europeans have ever set foot and climb a few mountains of 20,000 feet or so.

As he's never done any mountaineering before he invests in a few days' trip to Wales. 

It proves to be not a complete preparation - but then it turns out that Newby isn't prepared for much at all. 

All the same, though, Newby is brave, determined, dogged, and very, very funny.

A complete delight to the heart.

Word To Use Today: Kush. This might be the Persian word for killing, perhaps because of the number of slaves who died being transported through its mountains. On the other hand Nigel Allan translates the word as both mountains and sparking snows; and some say that Kush is named after the god Rama's son Kusha. 


  1. Love the word KUSH though I am glad I don't have to climb any mountains. Like books where it's done for you!

    1. Quite. Poor Eric Newby suffers greatly on his journey from all sorts of illnesses, too, caused by both the terrain and the food - and, on more or less that subject, the book has one of the very best last lines ever.