“The Countryman’s bedside book by B.B”. – 1947 ed. Condition fair, no dust jacket. See pics.
£10.00 – free postage.
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Two days later, and well ahead of predicted delivery date, a ‘Thwump!’ through the letter box.
“Another book…?” enquires the curious one with a sigh.
But I am already deeply immersed in the unveiling ceremony. (I am an unapologetic bibliophile, and there is no hope).
I sit down and open the cover, anticipating that glimpse of B.B’s tingling introductory verse which ends ‘Look ye also while life lasts.’ However, before savouring it, inside the front cover are words from another scribe.
I read the dedication in Indian ink on the slightly spotted page and am intrigued: It appears the book magically holds another tale. The original recipient was clearly a very distinguished and highly decorated Army Officer.
I cannot begin to imagine how, when faced with imminent risk to life, such bravery was called upon, not once but countless times. Instead, I’ll dream forward to a life after the war, perhaps whilst still a serving Officer, finding this
I’ll open the latch-gate of each chapter and allow my eyes to be transported along the worn pathway the Brigadier will have first trodden. I wonder if he took his pleasure in Rod, Gun, riding at hounds, or perhaps all three? Norfolk certainly offered opportunities.
Ironically, not so far away in Northamptonshire, B.B. himself would have only been four years older than the Brigadier and similarly occupied. I like to imagine the pair would have gotten along famously together.
I hope the courageous gentleman enjoyed a long and happy retirement when it came and was able to notice ‘The wonder of the world’, after the horrors he must have endured.
I am eternally grateful to the generation who fought for our freedom to do the same.
‘Sneezewort’ Summer 2021