Mr Tambourine Man by Nicholson

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Mr Tambourine Man by Nicholson

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Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Nicholson made sufficient money to be able to take eighteen gap years from the age of forty six. There are details of how he made his money, how he conserves it and particularly about how he has enjoyed spending it.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 286 Date: May 2017
Publisher: AuthorHouseUK
ISBN: 978-1524681821

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Back in 1965 we heard Mr Tambourine Man by the Byrds on the radio very regularly. Nicholson was thirteen and saw the 45rpm recording of the song in the window of the local music store and would have loved to be able to buy it but didn't have the money. Thirteen-year olds didn't in those days unless it was a birthday or Christmas and you couldn't get a part-time job until you were fifteen. There would be a few of those badly-paid jobs before he finished his A levels and went to New York for three months. It's this trip which Nicholson feels turned him from being a boy into a man and allowed him to see the bigger picture.

Nicholson assumed that with his A level results he would be going to university, but his father had other ideas: his son was to become an accountant. There was a foundation course at the City of London Polytechnic and then on to the office of a firm of accountants. Life in Essex was frustrating but he managed to pass his finals and became a chartered accountant. He surprised himself by being very good at it, and was even offered a partnership, but he didn't want to be an accountant for ever and decided that he would go into business. It was a wise move and one which would before too long see him working for Lonrho where he would start off earning £4,000 a year as an assistant group accountant. Sixteen years later he would leave as an associate director, on £95,000 per annum.

He's fascinating if not revelatory about his years at Lonrho, but it was there and at a subsequent company that he was able to build up the capital which enabled him at the age of 46 to take a gap year. He's now on his 18th consecutive gap year and isn't quite certain what he'll do when he reaches 65. Most of Mr Tambourine Man is a record of what he's done, where he's been and what he's eaten and drunk in those years. Make no mistake: Nicholson is a gourmet; he knows and appreciates good food and is quick to spot when it's not up to scratch or is overpriced.

Nicholson and his wife Chrissie have travelled the world, eating and drinking well. He's keen on exercise, swimming and playing tennis regularly as well as other water sports and this must be the explanation of why he weighs 10 stone and isn't the size of a barrel. He's a movie buff too and we get knowledgeable comments about films he's seen, along with his views on the food and drink. He's less informative about the places he visits apart from occasional remarks about sites he and Chrissie specifically wanted to visit.

His training as an accountant shines through brightly: there are details of what he paid for meals (sometimes whether it was necessary to pay by cash rather than card), even breaking it down to give separate costs for the wine and whether or not a tip was left. Some people will find this riveting and I would imagine that this would be the case if you moved in the same circles as the family, but otherwise it's occasionally hard to sustain the interest without the narrative being leavened by more local colour. The book would also have benefited from a rigorous copy edit to remove repetitions and misused words and symbols.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another look at a couple who have taken wholeheartedly to world travel, but in a rather different way we can recommend Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World by Lynne Martin.

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