Leslie Scrase Celebrates Retirement in ‘It’s Another World’ (published by The Book Guild Limited of Lewes, East Sussex – £16.95)
We have enjoyed thinly-disguised autobiographical accounts of his schooldays and his time in the Royal Navy (A Prized Pupil and A Reluctant Seaman) reviewed in the last Shebbearian and on the OSA Website. Now author Leslie Scrase turns to retirement as the subject for his 13th book. Slippers, pipe, hot chocolate and early nights? Not for one moment! Old Shebbearians, national serviceman, Methodist minister and atheist in turn, owner of a car hire business when he chauffeured the rich and famous, he celebrates the move from suburban Surrey to rural west Dorset with joy and humour in It’s Another World.
LS is a natural story teller. And from one story come others in glorious twists and turns. We are lured happily into another world. Fairies, leprechauns, giants and witches appear and we accept them totally.
Fortunately, devoted wife Wend and dog Becky keep some order and perspective in Leslie’s life. But Becky can talk quite sensibly. Well, tell me a dog that can’t?
We get some clues to the author’s past. There’s wise Joe, who lives in an old, old farmhouse and owns the neighbouring land. He went to boarding school and ‘that’s where Joe and I met.”
Occasionally, Joe drops into the vernacular of all our West Country childhoods: “You must be maised boy, proper maised.”
Leslie and Wendy drive to North Devon to get an aneroid barometer repaired in Merton “a small village right in the middle of nowhere between Okehampton and Great Torrington”.
“I used to know that part of North Devon quite well. I did a lot of my growing up down there,” he explains.
He tells why he is teetotal. “Funnily enough, I left religion behind and stopped going to chapel altogether, but I never acquired a taste for alcohol. And later with drink-drive laws coming in, there didn’t seem any point.”
He objects not one bit to Wendy sipping the occasional brandy. “I must say I like the way it affects her sometimes.”
Wartime at Shebbear left him with an everlasting liking for plain food. “I like proper English food with no frills and none of that modern rubbish of plastering everything in herbs and spoiling the pure taste of good meat and vegetable.”
Back again to the war years: “I served with the Home Guard when I was a Scout. I was a runner or messenger for them.”
He touches on religion, declaring: “Preachers were never very good at inspiring people with visions of heaven so they tried to terrify them into virtue.”
A beautifully written and amusing book in which the author sees every new day as a fresh challenge and an opportunity to experience something new. And he never misses the chance to give the reader a little history lesson.
It is truly a celebration of what fun life can be when the shackles of earning a living have been removed!