|Copyright relevant owner|
I've always been fascinated by how a mere glimpse of a picture from one's past can conjure up specific recollections of a particular time and place from so very long ago. The above book cover photo is just such an example, as looking at it instantly transports me back to my father's greenhouse on a sunny summer day in the mid-'70s, where, surrounded by tomato plants and the accoutrements of the keen gardener, I sat and immersed myself in the world of BOND... JAMES BOND as the magnified heat of the sun beat down upon me.
The book - COLONEL SUN, by ROBERT MARKHAM (alias KINGSLEY AMIS), was already a few years old by the time I discovered it in my local R. S. McCOLL's, but that didn't bother me at all, if I was even aware of it at the time. Unusually for me, apart from a couple of scenes, I don't recall much of the story itself (though I'm sure it will all come back to me when I read it again), but that day in the back garden greenhouse is as fresh as if it were only last week.
The copy I used to have was printed circa 1973 or '74, but the one I've just re-acquired is the first edition from 1970. Not that it matters, as the cover is exactly the same, which is why I bought it - to more fully re-experience the memories that resurfaced upon sight of a thumbnail image of the paperback on eBay.
One day I plan to sit down and re-read it, when I can devote myself to it uninterrupted. My father's greenhouse and tomato plants are long-gone (as is he), but some sunny day, I'll put out a chair on the spot they once occupied and try and recapture that glorious summer afternoon when I accompanied 007 as he yet again saved the world - all from the comfort of a red, white and yellow striped deckchair in a greenhouse in my back garden.