Troubador Yes Lad, But Byways

Released: 28/10/2020

ISBN: 9781800460133

eISBN: 9781838595937

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Yes Lad, But Byways

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When a promoter of nudism, in a newspaper interview, “pulled out a pipe and tobacco,” It was Tim who asked “Where from?” Reading that more babies are born in countries which protect storks, Tim has an ingenious theory. 


It is the small incidental, personal things and odd ideas which we are most likely to recall fondly in our dotage. This is a lifelong 92-year autobiography, full of light-hearted glances back, and the book’s title is a gentle swipe at Housman and his “blue remembered hills.” Every highway has its network of intriguing byways.  

Tim’s natural wit radiates from the pages of this insightful memoir. Considering the byways of life and delighting in their anomalies is something we all should do more often.

Everyone has a story to tell. Unfortunately, not everyone can tell a good story. And even rarer is someone who can make their own life interesting even if they were not a movie star, a politician, or a general. Tim Topps (born Alan John Broad in 1920s England) is one of those rare folks. And Yes, Lad, But Byways is most of that tale.

Tim Topps opens his tale with him in his pram in Wimbledon Park, then follows his parents to Africa since his father was in the Civil Service. So he spent several formative years in Kenya and other postings, acquiring a love of stamp collecting and starting to do a bit of writing. In 1937, the Broad family returned to England in time for the Coronation of George VI, and Alan to go to Bedford School while his parents returned to Africa. World War II intervened before they could meet again. Alan stayed busy in school avoiding sports, doing some writing which included getting a radio drama done on the BBC (it involved a pub and several pickpockets). After the war and his graduation (he got the Essay Prize handed to him by Field Marshall Montgomery), he spent a stint in the Army, and then off to college. There he got an idea for selling insurance to students that turned into a national business and kept giving him headaches for most of the rest of his life. Well, that, and his wandering eye. In the end, he has managed to be satisfied and reasonably happy at the age of 92.

The charm of Yes, Lad, But Byways is Tim Topps deft way of writing as though he was in conversation with you. He wanders about the topic, returning to his main story line, but as he mentions in the opening, this is a book about his wanderings in life, not a straightforward biography. And it is the strange twists, the rants, the asides that really bring the book to life for the reader

by NetGalley review


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