Sian Thornthwaite has worked in the pupil transportation industry for 25 years. She’s currently managing director of STC Consultancy in Pride Park, Derby, U.K.
She says that her work has ranged from re-planning school districts’ bus networks to delivering travel training in schools to advising U.K. ministers and governments overseas on child safety and transportation standards and policies.
“During that time, I’ve written textbooks on school transport, innumerable briefings for legislators, countless reports for corporate clients and the occasional article for trade journals,” she explains. “However, I’d always hankered after doing something a bit more creative and trying my hand at writing a real book!”
Thornthwaite took the plunge after reading Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck, which chronicles the author’s journey across America with his poodle, Charley. Last summer, Thornthwaite traveled around New England with her beagle, Bailey, and wrote a book about their experiences called Dog Days in New England.
Thornthwaite says she had travelled to the U.S. many times before, including to Warrensburg, Mo., for a National Congress on School Transportation.
“Steinbeck’s book made me want to see if I could re-discover the real sense of small town America that I’d been so intrigued by in Warrensburg all those years ago,” she says.
Dog Days in New England takes the reader from Brooklyn along Long Island to the back-roads of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and along the dramatic Atlantic coastline of Maine. It also explores the mountains of New Hampshire, the lesser known corners of Vermont, the Adirondacks and Thousand Islands before returning to the Catskills and the Hudson Valley in New York.
“We luxuriated in quaint clapboard bed-and-breakfasts, delighted in motels still in the 1950s, roughed it a bit in rural cabins and were enchanted to have the loan of Bette Davis’ house,” Thornthwaite recounts.
She says one day, she’d like to journey with Bailey around the rest of the U.S., but their immediate plans involve a road trip along the coast of Ireland.