Concorde to caravans

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Over the holiday period I was not only kept warm by one of the Brooklands Society’s useful fleece jackets and had Torn Wheatcroft’s book to enjoy. I also had another very satisfactory book, Raymond Baxter’s Tales of my Time (Grub Street, ISBN190490332 2, £18), written in collaboration with Tony Dron. Baxter’s life has embraced so many different activities that this book could not be otherwise than fascinating.

Here, in much detail and illustration, all is revealed. This celebrated and versatile celebrity, an OBE and Freeman of the City of London, records what it was like to survive childhood, become a fighter pilot in WWII in Spitfires, live in Germany with the BFN, and do all manner of top-rank broadcasts for radio and TV. He describes flying experiences from the then-only-airworthy Tiger Moth to helicopters and gliders. His account of being taught how to control a vertical take-off Hawker Harrier, his close TV associations with Concorde. and live transmissions from the Farnborough Air Shows and motor races are of exceptional interest something which applies to Baxter’s entire autobiography. How he managed to take his family on so many holidays in his unique Otter caravan-cum-boat on all the major lakes of Britain and how he coped with its unique slide-down-the-bank launching. I do not know.

In my allotted space cannot do full justice to what is an entrancing read. Raymond tells us how he handled TV science programmes and the many top-viewing shows we remember, bought one of the Dunkirk little ships and became involved with the Dunkirk Veterans Association, the famous folk he knew, including those from the motor racing world, what happened in his Monte Carlo Rallies from 1945-66, and much more. This is a page-turner which never disappoints.

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