WITHOUT A PADDLE: TALES FROM THE TYNE AND RIVERS FAR AWAY, by David Moffatt. Published by Troubador Books (www.troubador.co.uk/matador). £10.99. Softback.

THIS light-hearted memoir follows the author’s escapades from Tyneside where he grew up and took a degree in agriculture before undertaking a series of travels to exotic and sometimes scary places.
As part of a scientific expedition, he spent a year deep in the Brazilian jungle, living in a base camp 300 miles from the nearest town in an area known as the River of the Deaths where members of two previous expeditions had disappeared. Zoological torments which he endured with humour ranged from blood-sucking insects and killer bees to deadly snakes.
A series of tales takes the reader to Gambia, Egypt and Ethiopia, recounting the author’s experiences which include coping with a drunken bush guide, an incompetent camp cook who nearly poisoned his boss, the first meeting with his zoologist wife, misadventures in Cairo and a hair-raising journey to the source of the Blue Nile.