Posted by: billpurdue | June 1, 2009

56 Going green and a ’50s classic

Doing your bit for the planet

EcologyI’m grateful to my good friend Janet for the loan of a little book on how we can all do our bit to save the planet. In Ecology begins at Home: using the power of choice [Green Books £4.95 9781900322331] the author Archie Duncanson tells how he took stock of the way he ran his home, what he ate and his lifestyle in general and found ways of making less of an impact on the environment. Now, a lot of what Archie decided to do to lessen his carbon footprint is not new and there are plenty of other books on how to be green, but this comes in handy sized chunks in a pocket sized book . There are even a few recipes which need a minimum of cooking or use fresh rather than tinned or pre-prepared produce. There are some rather odd hints and tips under the heading “Natural beauty at home” such as using sugar water or beer instead of hair gel(!)

If you’re interested in helping to reduce our climate impact, you could also try one of these titles: Reduce, reuse, recycle: an easy household guide by Nicky Scott [Green Books £3.95 9781903998403] or Change the World for a Fiver by Anon. [Short Books £5 9781904095965, but no longer in the publishers’ catalogue]. There are lots more on similar subjects.

Back to the ‘50s

From time to time I pick up books that my parents acquired through their membership of those monthly book clubs. This one is no longer in print – it was first published in 1955 –  but it deserves to be reissued. Deliverance by L A G Strong (not to be confused with the novel of the same name by James Dickey) is set at the very end of the nineteenth century in the West Country.

Georgie’s whole life so far has been spent in an orphanage, but he is nearing the age when he has to be sent out into the wide world to fend for himself. Apart from the frequent visits across town to his Aunt Butters, he knows nothing about life beyond the orphanage. After two false starts in unsuitable jobs, his Aunt dies and leaves him her shop in her will. Georgie takes over the running of the shop and is moderately successful until a young woman, Grace,  befriends him and begins to turn the business around. Eventually Grace persuades Georgie that they should get married. At first Georgie goes along with this, but it turns out to be a loveless marriage, Georgie knowing nothing abut love or relationships, and before long Grace has the upper hand in the running of the business and the home.

Soon she begins to order him about like a skivvy and he discovers that she is paying some of the takings of the shop into her own account. The situation for Georgie becomes unbearable, but one day he meets Ruth and love begins to blossom. But how does he get rid of Grace? Is Georgie capable of murder, or is there an easier way out of the impossible situation? I won’t give away the ending, but I can say that it is a cleverly crafted novel and a real page turner towards the end. Deliverance can be picked up on second hand bookseller websites for as little as a fiver – well worth the effort. Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire library services each stock a handful of titles by L A G Strong, but not this one. L A G Strong was a prolific writer – click here for a complete bibliography

Smiley on the Radio

Dramatizations of all eight of the Smiley novels by John Le Carre will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 over the next twelve months beginning with “Call for the Dead”, the first in the series on Saturday 23rd May. Here’s the complete list ;

Call for the Dead
A Murder of Quality
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
The Looking Glass War
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Honourable Schoolboy
Smiley’s People
The Secret Pilgrim

An interview with John Le Carre in the “Front Row” programme is available on the BBC  iPlayer


  1. Hi Bill

    A very late comment. I have enjoyed reading your blog. I agree with you about LAG Strong – rather a 1950s author. I think you might enjoy his novel The Bay – dated but poignant, and set in the Dublin area.


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