Reading this book in a crowded hospital waiting room was not the best idea I’ve had, if I’m completely honest.

BrumI always take a book to read when I have hospital appointments to help pass the time and I had wanted to reread ‘You can take the cat out of Slough …’ by Chris Pascoe for some time.  So knowing that there would be at least 1 ½ to two hours to while away, I popped it in my bag. I had forgotten just how funny it is.

Chris Pascoe’s writing style is very conversational; it’s almost as if the book is a conversation he is having with just you and you are privy to the innermost thoughts and insights of this remarkably ordinary bloke.

Taking a sabbatical from work to look after his 5 year old daughter, Maya and Birmingham the cat – Brum, for short – Chris thought it would be a breeze being a stay at home dad and house husband. What could go wrong?

Brum is the kind of cat that life happens to – in spades. And Maya is the kind of 5 year old who is possibly an alien from another planet from another time way beyond our own galaxy; such is her tyrannical behaviour – at times – and predisposition to murderous outrage if Brum – or anyone – should venture into her space. In particular, her paddling pool. Poor Brum has a propensity for falling off the large garden wall and inadvertently landing in the paddling pool, incurring the indignant wrath of one belligerent 5 year old.  

Factor in a traumatised milkman with shredded knees and trousers and a neighbour who can’t speak for laughing and you have the makings of a brilliantly hilarious account of one summer chez Brum, Maya, Chris and his long-suffering wife Lorraine.

So back to the hospital waiting room, chuckling away as I was, I didn’t realise that I now had an audience of bemused fellow waitees (people who are waiting like I am!). When I did close the book and looked up there were a dozen or so people looking at me; some had huge grins on their faces, while others clearly thought I was mad. ‘It’s a very funny book,’ I offered by way of explanation. Thankfully, I was called in and didn’t have to answer any more questions and I’m sure there would have been a few more!

I haven’t yet read the previous book Chris wrote about Brum, called simply enough: ‘A cat called Birmingham’ but it is on my hit list and I’m hoping it’s every bit as funny as ‘You can take the cat out of Slough …’

For non UK readers, Slough is in the county of Buckinghamshire.

Published by Hodder and Stoughton in hardback and paperback and Kindle version (although I read the hardback version) the ISBN number is: 0-340-89864-X.

You can get it on and on Kindle on Nook Book

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.


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