World Wide Web 1960

Early this morning I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between Ireland and Scotland, and later that between Japan and Argentina live.

In her comments on

my blogging friend Lakshmi Bhat stated that the post reminded her of Nevil Shute’s “Trustee from the Toolroom”.

I had thought this not a book of which I knew. Later I remembered that a number of books by this author had been included in my Auntie Ivy Lynch’s library which she had bequeathed my decades ago.

Here is the jacket of the copy that bears Ivy’s signature.

Despite some of his works having been filmed I had not realised that the author was such an accomplished storyteller. This, his last novel, is skilfully crafted from start to finish.

It tells of the tragic death of a couple whose daughter was being cared for by the main protagonist and his wife, and consequent adoption of the child by the unexpected trustee. A hidden fortune and its discovery are the reason for a trip round the world for an ordinary, humble, man who had never before left his small London suburb, and who, after the extraordinary circumstances of his adventure remains with his personal values unshaken.

Had I not been one of Lakshmi’s blogging network, she would neither have read my “Burley Park Steam Fair” nor recommended the book. Nevil Shute could not have known about this community, yet the similarities of the development of friendships around the world based on respect for the magazine articles of Keith Stewart and his faithful correspondence with his readers is remarkably striking. Many of those who combine to help him on his journey have never met in person, nor ever will, yet he holds their respect through his regular responses to their queries, and to his acknowledged expertise.

As befits the aeronautical engineer that Shute was, he pays incredible attention to detail, which, when dealing with technical matters, cause my eyes to glaze over. This also affects the flow of his prose, tending to divert my attention. However, I did not wish to miss anything and was carried away on the waves. Everything is in its proper place and fixes the elements together.

Characterisation is developed through action rather than insights; we can discern who is and is not to be trusted, and experience the helpful tenderness exhibited by many.

Regular readers will appreciated my interest in what is left inside books. I wonder what my aunt was doing with this pressed curl of ribbon.

With our grandfamily dining out for their wedding anniversary, I enjoyed leftovers from last night with Hacienda Uvanis Garnacha Old Vines 2020, while the Culinary Queen chose cheese on toast, each slice topped with a fried egg, accompanied by Hoegaarden