Avondale bookshop

20 10 2007

Avondale Bookshop is a small but often quite well stocked bookshop in the Avondale shopping area. The foreign currency shortage has of course taken its toll so it is not as well stocked as it has been but it still has some surprisingly provocative titles in stock that are less than admiring of the current regime. I was quite surprised to hear last night at the concert that it had the latest RLI history in stock, albeit at the eye watering price (for me) of 30m dollars. Now the Rhodesian Light Infantry is my old regiment so I had to go along this morning and have a look though I was a bit sceptical of finding anything but some lower grade “whenwe” book. I was pleasantly surprised. The Saints: The Rhodesian Light Infantry by Alexandre Binda and edited by Chris Cocks is an immaculately produced hard cover history of the regiment loaded with photographs and a DVD to boot.

I was conscripted into the Rhodesian Army straight out of high school and at the time I took it with stoicism – it was what one had to do. I was ill-suited to the army and did not make a particularly good soldier. I think now that I just did not have the required aggression to make a good soldier and I was probably a bit immature too. Like a lot of the conscripts at the time we grumbled and complained a good deal. Yes, there was a lot of boredom and time wasting not to mention the terror of combat and eventually I paid a high price. But I have no regrets; “should have” and “if only” are words for which I have little time. War breeds camaraderie like no other experience and as I turned the pages and looked at the photos of faces I’d long forgotten the memories all came pouring back.  So this afternoon was spent watching the DVD and scanning through the book. I suppose it is not so surprising that the bad memories fade and the good ones remain; we’d all be nutters otherwise. This evening, taking Jenni for a walk, I came to a conclusion that surprised me somewhat; I was proud to have been a part of it. Charlie Aust, the last CO (commanding officer) of the unit (it was disbanded in October 1980), in the foreword puts it much better than I can. “There is little doubt that every individual looks back on those, now distant, days of RLI service, filled with a complex, wide spectrum of emotional memories – some sad, some bad, some shadowed by anxiety and fear, some with pain … but all with pride. Such is the legacy of war”. So while others settle down to watch the final of the Rugby World Cup, I’ll settle down with a glass of wine or two and wander through my past.



2 responses

22 10 2007
Kimberly Tolmay

1. “I suppose it is not so surprising that the bad memories fade and the good ones remain; we’d all be nutters otherwise.” That’s going into my quotes archive.
2. You didn’t watch the World Cup Final?!
3. I do enjoy your blogs.

22 10 2007

Thank you for leaving the comments and reading the blog. Fan mail is always appreciated! Seriously, it is nice to have feedback especially positive feedback; friends and family do read it but seldom comment.

Strangely, unlike most Zimbabweans of some means I don’t have DsTV (satellite). I did borrow a decoder some years back but got bored with it so when there is something really good on I have to go into town and find a friend with one. I was so taken with my new book that I decided it would be more interesting than the rugby. It was and is. A mate told me that it was not a great game anyway (sour grapes – NOT!).

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