Those fascinated since childhood by railways and summer holidays in Devon and Cornwall will enjoy Laira Fireman.
I particularly enjoyed the references to the area around Coombe by Saltash, a location familiar following holiday trips to the West Country. On a holiday to Newquay by car in 1961 my parents allowed me to travel by train for the part of the outward journey from Exeter. Later that day, I explored the Saltash surroundings. I discovered the walkway access at the east end of the Coombe by Saltash viaduct, which is just to the west of Brunel's Royal Albert bridge and assumed that this was not open to the public. In fact, up to the time I read this book I assumed I had been trespassing.
This walkway, fixed precariously it seems to the side of the 80 or so foot high viaduct, is depicted on page 65 in this book. The further on to the walkway I ventured, the less confident I became, when floor planks didn't seem that secure, and you could see the ground far below through the cracks. I retreated!
Imagine my surprise on reading that the author and his family lived near the other end of the viaduct and used this walkway regularly. If fact the family pram was wheeled along its very rickety planks, and had to be manhandled over the swing gates at each end.
This book highlights the sheer hard work involved in being a railwayman in those days, as anyone having been on a steam locomotive tuition course will appreciate. This book conveys that it was the author's enthusiasm and love of steam that allowed him to overcome these objections.