Vehicles in books

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It’s happened once again! The Editor was reading “Cornish Years,” by Anne Trenner (Jonathan Cape, 1949), thinking that in this schoolmistress’ appreciation of the Cornish scene there would hardly be any reference to motor vehicles, although secretly hoping there might be, when, on the 233rd page, was discovered reference to the authoress buying a motorcycle – a new two-stroke Velocette, for £40. There follow pleasing accounts of learning to ride, of tackling the skiddy tramlines of Redruth and Cambourne on a Saturday afternoon, of reading The Motor Cycle and the but-recently-departed parde-journalist “Ixion” and of following Velocette fortunes in the various races of that period. Anne Trenner remained faithful to her first love, for, going to Birmingham to teach, out of her first month’s salary put down a deposit on a new Velocette, on which she explored the Malverns.

You meet various war-time aircraft, from Sea Lion to Sunderland, on terms of splendid intimacy in “A Year of Space” (Macmillan, 1953), by Eric Linklater. I have read most of the aeroplane books written between 1958 and 1960 but if any specifically about the light aeroplane and sporting flying movement between the wars have eluded me I shall be glad to hear of them. Incidentally, I recall reading somewhere of a gleeful party in the mess at Hounslow Aerodrome during 1914-I8, after which the airmen caught a tram into London from the terminus by the aerodrome gates, but in which book escapes me. Can anyone jog my memory? – W. B.