The taxman cometh to the Jurassic Coast

A Newer Testament

A Newer Testament

Courtesy of God!

Lyme Regis has seen it’s fair share of illustrious visitors. Way back,
there were Plesiosaurs; much later, King Cynewulf, then Edward I, then even
The Duke of Monmouth passed through. Shortly after of course Mary Arming
made a name for herself here; as did Fielding, and Turner, and Whistler.
But now prepare yourself for the Jurassic coast can start preparing itself
for the visit of a 66-year old retired Inland Revenue executive from
Basingstoke!
His name is Gerald Ferguson, and for the next year he’ll be
circumambulating the coast Britain, gathering inspiration and pearls of
wisdom for inclusion in the next great testament of the age – A Newer
Testament.
This ‘quest’, recounted in a series of 13 novellas by Jean & Stanley
Lewis, kicks off in the high Andes where an elderly woman tending her sheep
is presented with Gerald’s name in a vision. And she’s not alone, as
elsewhere others have also receive the same message and poor Gerald,
Hampshire gardener, armchair advocate of Reading Football Club, and lifelong
underachiever, finds himself dragged away from his greenhouse to the
world of cliff walks, toasted teacakes and All Day English Breakfasts.
A Year on the Coastal Path.
That sets the scene of the next year as he ups sticks, takes up his
knapsack, leaves the security of his Basingstoke semi, and sets off along
the coastal paths of Britain.
The whole quest unfolds over the year, starting in March with Gerald
catching the train to Portsmouth from where he walks the Sussex and Kent
coast in the company of Matthew Luckless, a cocksure 17-year-old, and jots
down down pearls of disputable wisdom concerning life, birdwatching, stamp
collecting and the abstract idea of nation; all for inclusion in his Newer
Testament.
April finds him leaving Broadstairs accompanied by a former teacher of
German. She leads him to Gravesend and Tilbury, from where they walk the
coasts of Essex and Suffolk to a romantic diversion in Burnham-on-the-
Crouch, and a harrowing Ovaltine in Aldeburgh.
On April 27, he shares a toasted teacake at the Jolly Sprat tearooms
Great Yarmouth with his boy John before the two of them take a two-week
hike to North Yorkshire. They discuss respect in Boston, Trafalgar at
Gibraltar Point, seaside postcards at Skegness, and the existence or
otherwise of God, everywhere.
On May 11 he leaves Whitby and soon attracts the interest of Russell, a
railways man, mature student, and self-proclaimed expert on all things
Natural History.
Mid June he leaves Berwick-upon-Tweed and crosses the border, sampling
his first All Day Scottish Breakfast. He joins a band of pilgrims off to
see the world’s greatest singer songwriter.
July, and Stonehaven becomes his next starting point as he enjoys some
slightly more glamourous company all the way to Thurso, by which time he’s
revelling in the long summer days and the glories of Britain’s north coast.
From Scrabster, he shares the coast with a marketing man, and the dull
nature of his company to and beyond Cape Wrath leaves him time to dream, to
feel himself a part of the landscape, and to reminisce on his life.
Cape Wrath behind him, he continues south in the slipstream of a school
field trip until an mysterious death leaves him alone with their
presumptuous teacher.
September, he’s alone once more and heads west from Fort William. He soon
loses control of his life and quest again as he’s pressed into joining a
theatre troop and is dragged off aboard ship for a tour of the islands.
Late September and he’s back in England racing along the Cumbrian and
Lancashire coast to Liverpool, an assassin close on his heels. Then on the
last day of October, he begins a long cold trek through November and
December to Cardiff.
Christmas in Cardiff, January in love on the South West peninsular, and
finally, on 1 February, he heads off along the home stretch, starting at
Looe and visiting all the south coast resorts to Seaton, Lyme Regis,
Weymouth and finally Lulworth, reflecting on his year on the road.
One man show
The series also demonstrates how it’s becoming easier to self-publish, with
nearly everything, from the ideas, the writing, the design and layout of
the interior, the design and artwork of the cover, the website, the
publicity and the management of the production, right through to creating
the series of animations on YouTube, are all the work of Jean and Stanley
Lewis, who started typing in 2002 and now, courtesy of ‘print on demand’
publishing technology, will this March bring poor Gerald Ferguson and his
ill-appointed quest to the masses.
The website (www.anewertestament.co.uk) gives a breakdown of the journey;
plot details, publishing dates, and even a map with links to the places of
interest Gerald Ferguson visits along the way.
A Newer Testament – Part One. Beakerland will be available 1 March 2010
from Amazon or by ordering through your local bookstore.


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