I was pleased to read the nice things Alan Bennett wrote about my book in his diary in The London Review of Books (Vol.36 No.1. 9 January 2014) but he does himself a disservice when he writes that he wasn’t a practical person in the 1980s. As my letters, and his own diaries from the same period, record (rather than ‘misremember’) he was, back then, always a dab hand with a puncture repair kit, among other things.
1st October 1983
“I mend a puncture on my bike. I get pleasure out of being able to do simple, practical jobs – replacing a fuse, jump-starting the car – because these are not accomplishments generally associated with a temperament like mine… the contents of a puncture outfit are like a time capsule, unchanged from what they were when I was a boy. Here are the rubber solution, the dusting chalk, the grater on the side of the box, and the little yellow crayon I didn’t use then and I don’t use now. I ask the cycle shop if anyone has thought of making self-adhesive puncture patches. No one has.”
From Writing Home by Alan Bennett