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.

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24 thoughts on “The Real Dogman

  1. David Calcutt 9 years ago

    This is interesting Meg. From your description of him, I think this may the same Brian Plummer I knew for a couple of years in the early 80’s when we both worked at the same community school in Walsall. He worked with the most diffiicult – and often violent – pupils, and his off-the-wall methods had a very positive effect. He kept ferrets for hunting then. I’m sorry to hear he died, but glad he’s living on in your work.

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      How amazing to hear from you — it’s definitely the same man. I had the feeling that his teaching methods were not always appreciated (he obviously loved to shock), but it’s hard to imagine him as anything but a superb teacher. Have you read any of his books? He’s a truly wonderful writer. I’d love to know more about him….he seems to have a large cult following, and two documentary films were made. I must make an effort to get hold of them. Thanks so much for being in touch, David.

  2. bookwitch 9 years ago

    ‘Beautifully wrapped’? Oh, Dog.

    Now you’re making them sound so good I might even want to read them…

  3. jackie 9 years ago

    will look out for these. They look perfect for the man who owns the golden lurcher I paint so much. He hunts, shoots and fishes and rides. You would like him.

  4. Meg 9 years ago

    If my husband ever runs off with a 19 year old, I’m moving in with you, Jackie. It’s always good to have a plan, I think.

  5. Candy 9 years ago

    Oh, Dog.

    it’s gonna catch on.

  6. Kathryn Evans 9 years ago

    Candy – there is no dog. (I’ll not let you down again Meg)
    MEG!!!! He lives and I’m not disappointed. Although he’s put on a bit of weight since he just lived in my head…i wonder if these books are available elsewhere….

  7. Meg 9 years ago

    They’re available on e-bay and abebooks.co.uk, but I’ve never seen them cheap. And yes, he’s podgy but he’s a very sexy read. (I honed him down quite a bit in my head but I fancied him like mad talking about things like rat hunting, so he must have had something….)

    1. Kathryn Evans 9 years ago

      Going to have to track them down – i had two GIANT rats cavorting in my garden this afternoon ! They looked like a pair of otters – am not kidding. God I missed my old lurcher – he’d have had them – let Diesal out and just bimbled about before playing on the trampoline….

  8. Jenny steer 9 years ago

    I just came across your blog after searchingfor info on D Brian Plummer. I’m currently engrossed in his book Merle, which I bought from Hospice charity bookshop inExeter. Fantastic! I have a Lurcher and am interested in all things dog and Lurcher since I took him ona year ago! I agree with you, I was disapointed to find Plummer had died.. Jenny

    1. Meg 9 years ago

      Lucky you to find it in a charity shop! They’re very expensive now. Be careful, he’s addictive — and such a wonderful voice, does make you miss the man. Try The Bride’s Farewell when you’re finished with him — I’ve resurrected him and his lurchers (with a bit of poetic licence…!)

  9. lee murrell 8 years ago

    hi i have been reading and re-reading plummer books since i was 11years old,he had some great info to pass on and alot of great stories to.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Lovely to hear from another fan. He’s brilliant, isn’t he?

  10. john 7 years ago

    Three programmes were made. Two on hunting and the other called “way out of wallsal” about him training young boxers. Have the two hunting dvd’s but not the boxing one.

  11. Peter Phoenix 7 years ago

    Sorry this is late but I’ve only just seen the thread. Met Plummer half-a-dozen times during 1986/87 as my friend used to live in his Huddlesford cottage when Bri was in Caithness. Brian used to read to me from his ideas for future books. He used quite a lot of nom-de-plumes over the years and even wrote books that questioned his other works under the pseudonym ‘Michael Shaw’. From the late seventies he had numerous articles printed in first “Shooting Times” and then later in “Shooting News/ Countryman’s Weekly”, he even had a potted biography of a Native American chief published in “Readers Digest”.
    Coch-y-Bonddu Books, Machynlleth and Tideline Books, Rhyll are well worth a visit if you’re ever in Wales.

    1. Meg Rosoff 7 years ago

      Thank you for that, Peter. I based the “romantic” lead in my book Bride’s Farewell on Plummer. I thought I’d read all his books (and loved every one) but will look for Michael Shaw now.

  12. dave 6 years ago

    The man knew nothing about poaching, he made up all his “real” stories.
    Stole stories of other people and was generally regarded as a joke in the hunting world.
    Wrote a good book though.

  13. Paul Holmes 6 years ago

    I’ve followed Plummers exploits through his books and articles from my late teens to early forties when he sadly past away, Brian roused very mixed views from the hunting community , I think mainly because of his life style being a teacher and his obviously hi IQ , but I believe he was very well respected by the more revered terrier an lurched men and women.
    His writing was often funny, informative, and laid bare his fight with depression.
    He obviously found the company of his animals far more reliable than humans.
    I too sadly never met him in person , but I like to thinks that through his writings I got to no a little of the man I came to respect and admire.
    Great to see that some else has a interest in his canon of works and will keep his spirit alive .

  14. glenn welsby 6 years ago

    Have to say brian was a one off, im currently on with a book which brian asked me to complete…its all about the plummer terrier,
    Google wyremead

  15. Dec O`Dea 6 years ago

    Brian Plummer books were alaways entertaining.He had a naturalists and hunters perspective all rolled in to one. He totally understood hunting canines of all breeds.

  16. Mrs Judith Stubley 6 years ago

    Interesting to read the comments and recollections of Brian Plummer and, as soon as I saw him on T.V. with the ferrets and the countdown presenter Richard Whitely, I recalled meeting him in Derby in 1971, when he attended a social group called “the Coffee Pot Club”. I believe at the time he was living at The cottage, Park Lane Huddlesford, Nr. Lichfield. I gathered he was a larger than life sort of character and, at the time, had a huge Irish Wolfhound which was in his white van! He mentioned having books in print.
    I believe he did marry but cannot find any reference to his wife. Any knowledge of this or what happened to his wife?!

    1. Meg Rosoff 6 years ago

      All I know about him is what i read in his books. Which were (are) fantastic.

  17. Mrs Judith Stubley 6 years ago

    Hi Meg, Thanks for your reply to my blog of 28th March. I should be grateful if you could remove my email address assuming other people will be able to see this! I feel doubtful now that Brian Plummer did ever marry as there seems to be no reference anywhere. He seems to have been a man who raised the strongest feelings in people and, sad to say, there are some pretty unpleasant blogs on a website for Derry Argue of Gun Dogs! Perhaps we should all let sleeping dogs lie! Everyone agrees he could write! Judith

  18. Pete Phoenix 6 years ago

    Brian’s wife’s name was Norma according to his obit. This was a surprise to me as he certainly wasn’t married in the 1980s when we used to visit his cottage.

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