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Nearly 79, Laughter and Loss

This is a book of memories and diary entries, with illustrations. The memories cover a period of 75
years, the diary entries cover a period of eight months from December 2017 to my 79 th birthday in
July 2018.

I had a difficult childhood in a dysfunctional family and though I’ve written about the pain caused by
challenging relationships, much of the book is humorous and light-hearted, and concerns the chance
happenings of life. I have written in a style which I believe is warm and conversational. The book is
structured with 50 chapters of memoir, each being titled and complete in itself. Interspersed
between the chapters are eight monthly groups of diary entries.

Having been subjected to an opinion about how to make an autobiography ‘flow’, I have, rather
deliberately, chosen an alternative approach. As a result, I have jokingly suggested that I would
choose to liken my book to a box of chocolates rather than a sherry trifle. In essence it is a collection
of ‘stand-alone’ entries, which gain by being grouped together. Although it is essentially
chronological, I think it is a book which can be ‘dipped into’ and read in part or in any order, rather
like a book of short stories or poems.


I’ve written quite a lot about my childhood, my early jobs, my National Service Military Commission
and my life after resigning my Commission to become a photojournalist. Much of this is humorous. I
have written about deaths in my family and I think that these chapters are quite moving.

Diary Entries

I began these entries at Christmas 2017 when I had pneumonia. I chose the period to my birthday in
July 2018 quite arbitrarily in order to give myself a deadline. In turn, this led to my working title. The
entries are not continuous. They are usually responses to the wider happenings of the day. Often they
trigger thoughts and memories which lead to social/political musings.

Readers have told me that the change of pace between memoir and diary adds interest to the book
and motivates them to keep reading to find out what happens next.


Illustrations are made up of family photographs, paintings by my brother, and photographs,
watercolours and drawings by me.


This book is an honest exposure of an interesting, and I think, unusual life. I believe it addresses
universal issues of love and the sadness of loss. It laughs at the frailty of human vanity (mostly my
own). Much of it is (I hope) funny in a gentle and understated way. Most of the humour is at my
expense, in this at least I am kind.

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