‘Journey to a Dream’ had many detours

Journey to a Dream; A voyage of discovery from England’s industrial north to Spain’s rural interior by Craig Briggs; (c) 2012; ISBN 9781480-254930; Prices vary on Amazon

By Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

MEVASSERET ZION, Israel –Author Craig Briggs describes in great detail the process whereby he and his wife decamped from the north of England to Spain in order to try to buy a house and establish a business as a bed-and-breakfast (with or without breakfast) in Spain. They did this without knowing much of the Spanish language or culture, on the basis of having taken a liking when on holiday there to the rural countryside and sunny climate of the region of northern Spain known as Galicia.

Having had a similar experience in my search for a house in France, albeit not with the intention of renovating it or establishing any kind of business venture there, I could sympathize with Craig’s quest, and understand what motivated him and his wife, Melanie.

The reader is subjected to the exact specifications of each house or hovel they were taken to view by their somewhat dubious Spanish estate agent, the ins and outs of the Spanish bureaucratic system and the headaches and heartaches that afflicted Craig and Melanie, which sometimes gets to be somewhat tiresome. Ever more stories of similar vicissitudes are getting published on a daily basis, and this one falls into the rather predictable pattern displayed by most of them.

To his credit, it must be said that Craig writes reasonably well, all things considered, though there is too much repetition of certain phrases, such as ‘we thanked him/her/them and went on our way.’ Very polite, very British and rather unnecessary (unless you’re desperate to increase the number of words in your publication).

Although my own book on a similar subject, Chasing Dreams and Flies; a Tragicomedy of Life in France, (also available on Amazon.com) starts pretty much at the point where Craig’s book ends, there are quite a few similarities between what Craig and Melanie go through in Spain in real life and what is experienced by John and Sophie, my fictitious ex-pats in France.

The most striking feature of Craig and Melanie’s decampment is their love of wine, search for wineries and extensive wine-tasting forays, which is not the case with John and Sophie. Perhaps I should have thought of some wine-drinking activity for them, but it’s too late for me to go back and write some drinking scenes for them. Sorry, folks. My rather forlorn characters tend to stick to ‘a nice cup of tea.’

Shefer-Vanson is an author and freelance writer based in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion, Israel. She may be contacted via [email protected]


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