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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Jon Dudley Is author John Seymour still with us? (16) RE: Is John Seymour still with us? 19 Aug 09


John Seymour was a quite remarkable man and we had the great privilege of meeting him. Having seen that he was to be guest speaker at the South of England Self Sufficiency Fair at Ardingly we decided to take my dear old father-in-law Bob Copper along to meet him. Bob and his late wife had read and enjoyed his 'Self Sufficiency' and 'Fat of The Land' and also his masterly opinionated guide to Britain. The meeting was memorable - Seymour closed the show with a speech for which his prepared notes had disappeared, and all the better for that. As soon as it had finished we repaired to the real ale caravan, the contents of which were almost depleted. No matter, Seymour, Bob and us assisted it's total consumption with the barman in exasperation filling up the two old boys glasses with the ullage collected throughout the day. Seymour decided that it was far too late to go back to London where he'd been staying and came down to spend the night with us. I wish I could have recorded the wide-ranging conversation between those two. Both had met briefly at the BBC back in the mid fifties and had friends in common, Seamus Ennis, Jack Dillon, Bill Fraser and others from those days and the stories simply flowed. Both men were superb raconteurs and continuously 'out raconted' each other! The night galloped along nicely and Seymour lodged with Bob at whose home the drinking and reminiscing continued. Next day Bob came down to see us with the following tale.
"You know John stayed over last night?"
"Yes"
"Well he left pretty early this morning to get back to London"
"Yes"
"And he left these behind..." at this point Bob produced a pair of the most disreputable shoes imaginable. "and what's more more, you know those nice Church's brogues of mine?"Yes"
"I can't find 'em anywhere"
Later that day Bob received a phone call from John -
"Is that you Bob?"
"Yes"
"Bob, have you ever thought you were standing in someone else's shoes?...."

Subsequently Bob spent some time with John over in County Wexford and subsequently wrote up the experience in a short and hilarious monograph 'The Irish Papers'. The two of them, both in their late seventies had the time of their lives singing drinking sailing and fishing the River Barrow. One evening John produced a battered old melodeon and commenced singing some familiar East Anglian songs. Bob remarked that he knew them from the renowned Bargeman Bob Roberts...
"That's where I learnt them" said John, "and this is his instrument. Bob was dear friend and I sailed on the Cambria with him many times"...and I guess that prompted at least another hour's reminiscing.


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