John brings back memories of youth

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There is probably a lot of people who live through interesting encounters in their day-to-day jobs and think to themselves ‘there must be a book in this somewhere’.

Yet the number of people who actually sit down and record their fascinating tales, and publish them, is very small in comparison.

But one Kettering man who has accomplished the task of penning a book full of memories from his life is John Cecil.

He has recently published a work called Peanut, which traces a period of his life from 1972 to 1975, focusing on his teenage years spent at Kettering Grammar School, his memories of Wicksteed Park and his experiences after leaving Northamptonshire and travelling the world in the Merchant Navy. He is hoping his book will also trigger the memories of those who lived in Kettering at this time.

Of Wicksteed Park, he writes: “In the bottom area of the park is a child’s boating lake which, unfortunately, since the age of 12 and the near accidental scuttling of Phil’s young sister Julie’s paddle boat, we have been barred from. There is also the death-defying water chute ride, launched from a tower some fifty foot in the air, this boat-shaped tub, which holds up to twenty four screaming passengers, careers down two rails at a rate of knots and smashes on to the water, sending a spray cascading over the boat and soaking everyone onboard.”

Little did he know at this stage he would go on to spend several years of his life at sea in a very different type of boat.

John said: “It has been a long project. I started writing it 10 years ago. I completed it, sent it to the publishers and did not have much success. I revisited it three or four years ago and decided to go down the self-publishing route. They always say ‘there is a book in everyone’ and, because I was in the Merchant Navy, people asked me about life at sea and someone said I should write a book, I thought it was a good idea.”

Peanut was the nickname given by locals to the trainee Merchant Navy members and John does spend some time covering his time at the National Sea Training Centre in Gravesend, Kent.

He said: “Not many people from Kettering went into the Merchant Navy and it was such a different life. I absolutely loved it, but I had already heard so many stories from my brother-in-law (who was in the Merchant Navy).”

Peanut can be ordered through Waterstones or purchased on Amazon, priced £15.95 for paperback or £26.99 for hardback.”