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Princess Navina series of books
Princess Navina series of books
Princess Navina series of books

A Book Full of Surprises: An Insider’s Guide to England

In Discovering England, American adventurer Jim Payne lures readers into his kayak voyage, which turns out to be so much more. While paddling England’s historic Thames River from its rural headwaters to the metropolis of London, curiosity gets the better of him. Soon he’s poking into castles, sleeping in ruined cathedrals, facing down Henry VIII, and making friends who take him home and tell him what the English really think. The result is a personal discovery of England’s people, history, culture, customs, and even its amusing quirks.

Join American adventurer Jim Payne as he paddles down the Thames River, dodging attacking swans, camping in ancient ruins, and engaging the captivating, and at times quite amusing, people who populate England.

Payne has a knack for delving behind the unusual scenes he encounters, and before you know it, you’ve been treated to a witty, engrossing introduction to many aspects of English life, including sport, drama, law, and religion, as well as deeper mysteries about the country's affection for tradition and quaint, even counterintuitive quirks that are uniquely England.

With a keen eye for puzzles and contradictions, Payne unravels English culture with wit and understanding. You never know what’s coming next in this unusual voyage—because neither does he!

Paperback, 162 pages, map illustration, photo spread


More information can be found at the dedicated Discovering England website.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: In Love with Quaint
  • Chapter 2: Common Courtesy
  • Chapter 3: The Lockside Community
  • Chapter 4: The Parish Church
  • Chapter 5: Dramatis Personae
  • Chapter 6: The Sporting Life
  • Chapter 7: Crooked Everything
  • Chapter 8: Tradition
  • Chapter 9: Lesson in Patience
  • Chapter 10: Enchanting Canal
  • Chapter 11: Expressions of Faith
  • Chapter 12: Departing Illyria
  • Chapter 13: In Tyrant's Den
  • Chapter 14: Olga
  • Chapter 15: Grappling with the Tidal Thames
  • Chapter 16: Sightseeing from One Inch above the Water

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