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A Fête Worse Than Death: chapter breakdown


1. Bruised shins, webbed hands and tangled toes
Iain travels to Chipping Campden for the shin-kicking contest and Wetton, Staffs to go toe to toe with a biker dressed only in beer towels for the World Toe Wrestling Championships. PS: Shin kicking hurts.

2. Stones, cold, sober
The horrors of a night at Stonehenge surrounded by crusty punks, druids and a woman who wants to marry you and fight off any competition. Iain and his companions evade several police roadblocks on the way and end up with a whole A-road to themselves.

3. Trains, planes and the special bus
Days spent with punk-rocking, cricket playing trainspotters Blyth Power at a kind of spotters’ Glastonbury in Tallington, Lincs followed by a trip to the village of Mildenhall to meet up with a group of planespotters, some of whom seem to hate their chosen hobby. At a North Weald, Essex bus rally he tries to avoid the thousand yard stares of the enthusiasts.

4. Slurping with the enemy
A trip to Bletchley Park to meet the very English Luftwaffe Historical Society, who dress as German paratroops of a weekend. Followed by a lacklustre Jubilee re-enactment event in Ashby De La Zouch.

5. A fête worse than death
After attending four fêtes and a boot sale in the county of Norfolk Iain discovers deep vein tombola. He also gets the evil eye from a vicar, wins some bri-nylon socks and witnesses a piano smashing extravaganza.

6. Where th’offence is, let the great axe fall
Stratford upon Avon is pitted against Blackpool in a battle of the tourist towns. Iain argues that American visitors should ignore the bard and head for the bars of the jewel of the North West if they want to see real England.

7. Flying men and flying bricks
To Bognor Regis, which is every bit as bad as Iain had heard, to see men and women try to fly from the town pier and then onto Stroud, Glous to witness a brick slinging contest. The women throw rolling pins as Iain takes cover.

8. It’s pixies, you idiot
On a pilgrimage to Combe Martin in Devon Iain finds out the secret of crop circles from the Aetherius Society – a religious group who worship flying saucers. He also has the misfortune to visit Barnstaple.

9. Top of the crops
With his new found knowledge Iain investigates the crop circle scene and winds up making one of the best crop circles of the year with the Circlemakers. Though he daren’t tell that to the head of the Wiltshire Crop Circle Studies Group when he meets her in Devizes.

10. Thirty bloody minutes and no monkeys?
Off to Fowey in Cornwall to see a five foot long Cornish pasty sailed across the river from Polruan. The locals worship it as their god so Iain heads off to see the Eden Project, finding walking is not the best route. With the environmental friendliness over he flies back to London.

11. Beards, trunkies and the forest of faux
Revisiting the holidays of his childhood Iain goes to Pontin’s at Camber Sands to be forcibly entertained at the cheap but cheerful holiday camp. He also travels to the Longleat branch of Centerparcs where he is disappointed to discover the whole thing is not really under a bubble at all.

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A Fete Worse Than Death - Iain Aitch