Thursday, 13 June 2013

Horizon Fever

My latest Kindle read is 'Horizon Fever' by Archibald Edmund Filby.

An interesting period in English social history is brought to life with a first hand account of a wonderful African adventure. With images that add to the general ambiance. No pretensions and peppered with interesting anecdotal asides Horizon Fever makes for a very entertaining read. One can imagine the cigarette holder and the glass of wine as the intrepid explorers relax round a camp fire. This is the real Jeeves and Wooster gone up country.

Archibald Edmund Filby

Horizon Fever is the travel log of the late A.E.Filby. The logs were compiled during the late 1930's and so have to be read with that particular era in mind. The pre-war British Empire was still covering great swathes of the world map and each colony was still coloured in red. Political correctness was still a figment in some academics mind. Health and safety were a bottle of quinine and a handgun. The spirit of true adventure was palpable and it was all done with a certain 'stiff upper lip and not a little swagger.' If nothing else, Archie Filby was a latter day explorer and slightly mad eccentric. A real man who displays on every page extraordinary courage.  

Peppered with hair raising tales of the wildlife that sometimes wondered into camp. Combined with descriptions of the scenery and period photographs, long before commercial logging and poaching changed the landscape forever. With the occasional heart warming descriptions of the unsophisticated and welcoming people that Archie encountered.

Driving from London to Capetown in South Africa would be a difficult process to undertake today. Even with all the modern upgrades to vehicles that have taken place in the intervening years. This is the story of a timeless adventure conducted in the years between the two great wars. In an era when detailed maps were unavailable and when most of the mechanical adjustments on a vehicle were conducted with the use of a hammer. I particularly enjoyed Archie's way of dealing with political difficulties in crossing other countries 'empires'. Which were often circumvented with that typical British no nonsense, get on with it spirit. 

Providing a poignant view into a time and regional culture that like the empire is now lost forever. When friendships on the road could be fleeting and significant hardships were often shared with complete strangers. Archie Filby captures the flavour with a considered understatement which was the way at that time. There is a little more insight to the mystery of the man himself in the epilogue. I enjoyed every word and I am already looking forward to the next two volumes.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.