“It was the writer Hunter Davies, though he does not know it, who prompted me to write this book. He, like me, had reached the ripe age of 80 and he wrote a long article, composed of 80 paragraphs, which appeared in the Sunday Times Magazine. The article listed the joys of being 80. I was inspired by much of what he wrote, such as his paragraph 40 which read: ‘I am still working at 80. You just stagger on, hoping to get away with it, writing this sort of stuff, for example …. ‘
“It was a time when I had recently written My Speaking Journey of 30 years and also Those Trinity Years. Although writing books had not featured in my bucket list, an interest in scribbling had taken hold. I was flirting with the concept of memoirs, but I certainly had no interest in a full chronological biography. However, Hunter Davies’s scheme of ‘80 items’ made me think further.
“The result is this compilation of 80 separate chats illustrating the fun and follies of my 80 years. I am pleased to share both my pleasures and my observations with you, and ask you to forgive the faults of memory and the occasional repetitions which are bound to have occurred.”
The author, Gwyn Redgers, has enjoyed a long and interesting life. Born when George V was still king and Britain had an empire, he was at school during wartime and the Attlee years, and then progressed to National Service in Hong Kong and to University in Cambridge. He went on to have a long and successful marketing career, and also a long – though somewhat eventful – family life.
Finally came retirement, which has given him full scope for developing his interest in travel, his “speaking journey” and, most recently, his emergence as an author.
C’est le Vie describes 80 episodes of that 80 year life, some light-hearted, some serious, and all of them a stimulating read.
Or, as he himself puts it, the ‘fun and follies of four-score years’.