I swear I'm not trying to be a killjoy here--what a wonderful thread!--but I have to say, while I really enjoyed "Neither Here Nor There," I found "Notes" devoid of any original thinking on the English and English culture. It seems that after about 20 years of living in England, Bryson felt he had to write SOMETHING about the experience...perhaps it was too soon; maybe he needed some time to reflect, some distance. To me, the narrative is plodding, dull, and full of "I went here on the train...and then went there...and eventually slept here...and then I ate here." Simply doesn't measure up to his usual wit.
His obvious appreciation of all things British seems genuine and even touching. But beyond that, the book fell flat for me. He devotes too much time to a banal description of his immediate surroundings, and not enough to sharing why this culture matters to him. Susan Allen Toth's travel writing on England is much more insightful, more thoughtful. And I found Joe Bennett's "Mustn't Grumble: In Search of England and the English," a more enjoyable book than "Notes from a Small Island." Bryson is a fine travel writer, but I think this is a sub-par effort, for him.