I’m back from Suffolk. Four days of relentless work and the draft is finished. OK, it wasn’t entirely relentless. I did a talk for the Woodbridge Oxfam bookshop (whence goes most of my royalties) which allowed me to sing the praises of the wonderful writer and poacher D Brian Plummer. I discovered Plummer by mistake about four years ago, in the rare book section, judged the book by its cover (a beautiful drawing of a lurcher) but quailed when I saw the £22 price tag.
Husband came to the rescue (as usual), and the book appeared, beautifully wrapped, as a birthday present a month later.
The trouble with old-fashioned books of country lore is that they’re so often unreadable. So I wasn’t expecting much. Silly me. Plummer turned out to be one of the great raconteurs of the English countryside — erudite, opinionated, wildly iconoclastic, and astonishingly knowledgeable about everything to do with poaching. Six months after reading Merle, I bit the bullet, returned to the bookshop, and made an offer for the rest of the collection. Which, lovely people, they accepted.
D Brian Plummer died in 2003 and it breaks my heart that I never had a chance to meet him. But I have read most of what he’s written — including such unpromisingly titled works as Diary of a Hunter, Tales of a Rat Hunting Man, and Rogues and Running Dogs. They’re not cheap, but worth every penny.
I like to think he might have enjoyed his portrayal as Dogman in The Bride’s Farewell.