‘They say that Africa grabs hold of you and never lets go”.
In Brian Dawtrey’s new autobiographical novel he looks back to 1964 to tell the story of his second tour of overseas aid. Along with his wife, Cicely, and three children, Brian uproots from his comfortable farm life in Norfolk, England to embark upon an adventure in order to initiate agricultural and re settlement schemes for tribal communities, supporting them to improve their standard of living.
Brian and Cicely started out as farmers in Norfolk, where they divided their time between milking cows and bringing up their three children, Caroline, Philip and Richard. They went on to spend twenty-five years living and working in Africa, before moving to the New Forest in the 80s to be closer to family. Brian has written number of other memoirs concerning his family’s amazing adventures.
Written in the style of a journal, the novel follows the Dawtrey family’s extensive travels, and wild bush adventures, from tracking Elephants in the mountains of the Southern Highlands to paradise beaches and life on the Serengeti Plains.
“We’ve got one advantage; we’ve got a Ford Corsair GT. So, are you up for it?”
After embarking from Southampton Docks, on the R.M.S. Windsor Castle, to Cape Town, the Dawtrey family then continued their extreme journey to Mbeya, Tanzania in their trusty Ford Corsair GT, driving down dusty roads, which at points, they would have to build and repair along the way.
“Why would you want to go there to that uncivilised place? Do you realise how far it is!” I knew the answer to that question, 3600 miles to the border, mostly on unpaved dusty roads full of hazards.”
Selfless family sacrifice, perilous adventure, the possibility of imprisonment and the beautiful imagery of East Africa, all combine to make Dawtrey’s novel an enthralling read from start to finish. The account oozes passion and wittiness, which propels the story forward and illustrates how seemingly insurmountable troubles can be overcome with the help of family.
An inspiring memoir full of love and humor, in which two peoples self-sacrificing want to enhance the lives of others will make you feel the need to get out there and make a difference too.
Wild Africa, Odyssey In A Ford Corsair GT, is published by Austin Macauley (£11.99 paperback) Released on the 29th of January 2016.