Author, Ben Chatfield, pens funny book based on gap year

Author pens funny book based on gap year

Ben Chatfield in France

Then and now

First published in What's On Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

An author has penned a book based on funny experiences on his gap year in the 90s.

The Mediterranean Homesick Blues begins in a semi-detached house in Sutton when Ben Chatfield is working for his uncle on a building site in Epsom.

Based on Chatfield’s diaries, the story whisks you away on his journey to teaching English to rowdy teenagers in Cannes to taking orders from topless mums on a beach in St Tropez.

The humorous diary is described as a year- long odyssey into both manhood and the French way of life set in 1994 and a mix of a Year in Provence meets The Beach meets The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾.

Chatfield, who grew up in Sutton and now lives in Wimbledon, said: "I had read a load of books and articles about living in France and found them clichéd and unrealistic.

"I still had piles of letters and diary entries from my time abroad and wanted to use them as a start.

"I thought my experiences were altogether different - a lot more fun, edgier, more real.

"I managed to keep my diary and it was written before the internet age.

"Students all find it amazing we actually wrote letters to each other. It was pre-emails and pre-Facebook.

"You know the saying that everybody has got a book in them? I just wanted to find out if I did or not.

"It is written by me age 20 from my old diaries about what happened to me while I worked as a teaching assistant in Cannes then moved to St Tropez.

"It is completely in the humour section. It is almost like a scrap book.

"It is really, really funny - primarily because when you are aged 20 you think you are the absolute centre of the universe.

"When you are 20 and find yourself in a foreign country and no one really cares. You are just going to have to make it work."

Mediterranean Homesick Blues, £9.99 from Amazon or £7.99 to download at kindle, or visit



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