The first story in And I Don’t Even Have An Uncle In Australia is a short memoir and tells the tale of part of the authors time in the RAF and his adventures on one occasion when he needed to get to Australia. I really liked the ‘form’ his father has sent him to complete: ‘I am/am not in work/hospital/prison/this continent… please delete as necessary’ due to his long periods of silence. It’s an approach I think I shall be taking with my own son.
I then found this collection contained not only prose but poetry as well with Down Under, a rhyming poem of a holiday in Australia.
Aden 1960 – At this point the author was fifteen and living with his parents in the British Protectorate of Aden. His life then was mainly made up of exploration and this wonderfully descriptive story takes you to the streets of Aden. Fletchers writing is so vivid you can feel the chaos and the heat, your legs on the plastic of the bus seats, the stench of the honey cart.
The State We’re In – another poem, and a rather disgruntled view on the way things are in this country. NHS, police, schools, the Armed Forces and of course the government, all get a mention. This was written before the recent political kerfuffle and I can only imagine it makes you wonder what the author thinks to all that.
Bandits in my Six O’Clock, is the absorbing tale set in June 1942 (so this one cannot be the real life experience of this author) of a fighter pilot being scrambled and the outcome of that. This authors writing is so good and the descriptions so vivid that you are totally there, living and breathing every moment. So much so that I was completely taken by the surprise ending!
My favourite poem comes next, entitled Desire it is wonderfully romantic.
Green on – Go! This is a true life story of this authors training and qualifying on a parachute dispatchers course in 1970. It makes for interesting reading and I enjoyed the various stages they had to go through.
Farmer’s Morning follows, a poem about, well, a farmers morning.
Butterfly Angel – this was a lovely tale of Granny Faye and her affinity for butterflies and the lasting impact that has on her family.
Boot Camp, a poem – the great idea of having a bad lads’ army, teaching self-respect and discipline.
A Moving Tale and a paranormal one at that for a little variety. Set in 1959 in the Middle East, an evening, a group of engineers and a ghostly tale.
Why – a philosophical poem from the slightly drunk Charlie.
The Wood Nymph – a delightfully depicted, but awful, mother does not accept a present from her son graciously, but he ends up getting exactly what he wished for.
Poems, The Oak and The Pond follow.
Wet Blanket is the final story of heavy rain, a broken down car and a knight in shining armour coming to the aid of a woman who turns out to be much more than a damsel in distress.
I really enjoyed reading this work by this author. His turn of phrase, observations and attention to detail are terrific and I recommend to all those who love a short story.