first plane out

| November 12, 2016


Sydney Blockett is an unremarkable bachelor and storeman in a local engineering company in Bradford. Called to a solicitor’s on an afternoon off he discovers he has inherited a fortune from an unlikely source and following an oft-heard mantra he reacts literally and impulsively gets the first plane out of the country without bothering to inform work. He intends to travel widely and send a sarcastic letter of resignation from abroad to his detested boss. He has lived alone after his mother died in the small terrace house of his birth and turning thirty is almost bereft of friends, family, and hobbies. He is not unhandsome with his blue eyes, lank hair and long thin body. He has never been abroad: has no idea where to go; only that he must get the first plane out. It takes him to Aberdeen. He quickly gets another to Heathrow and then abroad. He is unworldly and not quick on the uptake which becomes apparent when he steps on to foreign soil. His hapless antics are entertaining to the locals and tourists. His previous leisure activities consisted mainly of watching TV and playing snooker badly at his local British legion club where old comrades referred to him as ‘Young Sydney’. His only long term girlfriend had run off with the window cleaner because she had found him boring. Even the stray cat he adopted disappeared. Long hours in a warehouse and a bachelor existence had made for a dull life. But Sydney had been extremely content. Perhaps due to his naïveté and unworldliness he is unintentionally humorous.
Trying to go round the world when you have no idea of where anywhere is can be absurd and problematic. Due to Sydney’s lack of understanding and literal take he makes a comedy and drama of most things and people he encounters. Fortunately at his first stop abroad: Corfu, he meets up with world travelling itinerant Aussie Alan Best, currently servicing motorbikes but still nursing dreams of making it to London and becoming a successful artist. Sydney’s sudden departure from Bradford leads to confusion back home; especially when Alan’s globetrotting friend Philip drops in and arranges to send Corfu postcards from destinations on his journeyings, but written on the spot by Sydney who remains in Corfu. Sydney’s life is thrown into chaos by a chance meeting with the odious Henry Charters who is island hopping in his yacht ‘The Fair Princess’ named after his beautiful ex-debutante girlfriend Felicity Chalmondeley who takes a shine to Sydney. Thus begins the amusing growth of an unlikely and comedic romance. Trying to win her over Sydney pretends to be a major businessman and when she leaves the island abruptly at Henry’s insistence to conclude a property deal a bereft Sydney returns to Bradford and decides to be just that in an attempt to compete with his old employer. He doesn’t have a clue what he is doing.
Unknown to Sydney both Alan and Felicity come to England to track him down. They have no phone number, only an address on a note sent by Sydney to tell Alan where to ship a picture he had bought off him. The reader is taken through the ups and downs of Sydney’s burgeoning relationship with Felicity which is at times touching, romantic and farcical; Alan’s struggles to make it in the art world, and Sydney’s complete ineptitude in business. It can only end in tears, most likely Sydney’s. With his fortune dwindling and business foundering he struggles. But somehow this is counterweighted by the upturn in his personal life. Maybe some people are just not meant to be rich. It doesn’t suit Sydney. His faltering attempts to impress Felicity’s rich and snobbish parents; Felicity’s reciprocation in trying to adapt to Sydney’s down at heel working class life in Bradford (she even joins the Legion club’s Ladies darts team, while he promises to learn to drive), and the sadness and at times tragi-comedy that the events engender lead to an unlikely ending.
This is the first book in a series.


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