Bombs, Boils & Brushes … a Rural Doctor’s Notes by Dr R J Robertson. Published by The Shetland Times Ltd at £12.99.
MOST of us have read autobiographical tales of young doctors starting out in practice, and while this book is another in the same vein, it is so much more than simply the story of a rural doctor.
Dr Robertson tells of his school days in an evocative manner, guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of anyone who remembers the good old days.
That these good old days are during the war doesn’t detract from the book. His National Service years are recalled with affection and humour. The mess and billet seem to jump off the page due to his lively descriptions.
Dr Robertson then moves on to his experiences as a medical student, and then finally his years as a GP in Shetland. This time is described in a gentle tone, and humorous stories abound. He describes difficulties and problems with understanding and patience and the reader can sense something of his love for his life’s work.
During this time Dr Robertson also writes of his growing interest in art. This is now a part of his retirement and there are some lovely pictures toward the end of the book of pieces by the author.
This book has something of the flavour of James Herriot, who while writing about his vet’s practice also managed to pull in so many different strands to his stories. Dr Robertson also does this and the reader is left with an overall picture of his life which makes the book so much more than simply the tale of a rural doctor.
At the end of the book Dr Robertson gives some very useful advice for anyone facing or starting out on retirement. For that reason it may be more suitable for older readers.
At the same time though there is much to attract anybody who enjoys stories about life in Shetland.
With Christmas looming this is definitely a book to be considered.