Whenever I go on holiday I like to read about the place I’m visiting: Jamaica Inn in Cornwall; Mayor of Casterbridge in Dorset; the Clangers annual if ever I make it to the Moon.
As a teenager I’d spend many summer holidays on the Kent coast; my reading there was the Dr Syn novels. Dr Syn was a clergyman by day and head of a Romney Marsh smuggling gang at night.
The 7 novels were written between 1915-1944 and two films came out of the writing. I only saw part of the 1963 adaption. I was so traumatised by Dr Syn, terrifyingly dressed as a scarecrow, my mum had to take me out of the Balham Odeon, probably before the usherette called the local health visitor or hit me with a Kia Ora to shut me up.
Dr Syn was ultimately hanged in the final book, but in the current times he’d have escaped that fate as he’d not been able to carry anything out if he was working from home. You cannot offload stolen barrels of French rum from a boat via a Zoom call.
I’d have made a dreadful smuggler: fear of water (worse than that of hanging); don’t like rum (even in a bar of Old Jamaica) and don’t look good in a scarecrow outfit.
Also, at my age, I’m quite susceptible to marsh ague. Rum Baba anyone?