When I was growing up, I loved reading James Herriot‘s semi-autobiographical vet stories. I devoured all his books, I would get so engrossed in the stories that the time would just fly by.
I never entertained the thought of becoming a veterinarian, though, mainly because my father saw it fit to encourage me towards becoming a medical doctor instead. That’s where the money was, he said. Vets just didn’t carry the same social status as doctors.
He succeeded with my older brother. However, in my misspent youth, I careered off the carefully laid out tracks my father had envisioned for me. And I ended up doing a degree in Music instead, far, far away from the field of Medicine.
But now, at long last, I’ve heard the call and am answering it. Though not in the strict sense that I’m going to become a veterinarian. Hey, I’m nothing if not practical. I’m no spring chicken, and studying to become a vet (5-7 years) will take far too long. So, instead, I’m studying to become the next best thing – a Vet Nurse, which I can do in 18-24 months.
So far, so good. I’ve been getting High Distinctions on my online assessments thus far. And I’m waiting impatiently for several textbooks on veterinary nursing to arrive in the post. Why are they taking so long??!
And recently I decided to rekindle my romance with my old flame, James Herriot. Granted, his books were written many decades ago, and the man himself has long departed from this earth. But his heartwarming stories are eternal and the subject of his writing even more so. Surgical techniques may have changed, medicines may have evolved, diseases eradicated and new ones discovered, but the stories of one man’s love and compassion for all creatures great and small will continue to resonate in all of us.
Mind you, it is getting rather hard to source James Herriot’s books these days. His Omnibus and box sets are rather expensive on the secondary market. Amazon has some really cheap, affordable copies, but after factoring in international postage to Australia, the costs soon add up to Too Much. But still, you never know when one or two of James Herriot’s books might end up at your local thrift store.
A short while back, I wrote about animal relationships, and mentioned several books on the subject. One of these books was “Unlikely Loves” by Jennifer S. Holland. And guess what, a couple of days ago I felt compelled to visit Elizabeth’s Secondhand Bookshop in Perth, and I found a copy of that same book there, for a paltry AU$8.80. Happy days!
And so, being as the Universe appears to be answering a great many of my prayers these days, and helping me manifest my desires, I again felt compelled to visit my local thrift store in Rockingham today…and I was just about to leave when a large hardcover book under several other books somehow caught my eye.
Could it be? Was it possible? Yes!! It wasn’t an Omnibus or Box Set like the ones I’d seen online. This was something else altogether, something unique and special. The Best of James Herriot. AU$2.00.
As you can see from the photos above, this edition contains not only James Herriot’s own selection of stories, but also photos and descriptions of the towns mentioned in his books, a bit like a travelogue. It also has many rather quaint illustrations, and some useful and informative sidenotes on instruments, animals, farming equipment, etc.
I feel so lucky and privileged to have come into posession of this wonderful book. Thank you, Universe!! :)