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on 12 September 2012
I have really enjoyed this book. Having been brought up in Kenya in the area that Hugh Cran writes about I have been transported back in time to join with him on his many dusty bumpy journeys to various farms and and to meet the colourful characters which he met on these journeys. There is so much truth in his rather tongue in cheek narrative, the laid back Africans, the hearty and jovial farmers who always as we did welcomed the vet when he managed to turn up either with a cup of tea or something stronger if it was an evening visit. The book is well written and Hugh Cran has done well to include so many characters and events into one book. I hope other readers enjoy it as much as I did. Well done Hugh.
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on 28 May 2013
I must admit I was not sure what to expect but had ordered the book as I liked the title (!) and also enjoy reading about pioneer days. I was pleasantly suprised and enjoyed this book very much. It is well written and although some of the procedures are explained in perhaps too much detail for a non vetinarian reader the stories of life & characters he meets are very interesting.
I hope there will be another book that will tell us how his life progressed over later years and if he remained a bachelor or is he still propping up the bar at the aero club.
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on 17 October 2015
Loved this book. I think I would have been delighted with it even if I hadn't been a Kenyan child of Scottish parents, and a vet like Hugh, because it's written with a wonderful turn of phrase, and a wicked sense of humour. I loved the descriptions of Hugh's flying lessons; and all the character sketches of his clients (many names are very familiar). This book is like the African version of James Herriot; and it makes one realise the true meaning of being on duty 24/7. And 365 days a year, unless an escape could be planned. Off to read the sequel now...
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on 8 October 2012
And Miles to go Before I Sleep
This contribution is in addition to the seven five star recommendations already on line.
I first met Hugh Cran in 1970 whilst stationed at Nakuru., and again earlier this year. He was and remains a single handed practising veterinary surgeon in a developing Kenya. A consistent character in a changing world.
Imagine being on 24 hour call seven days a week, 365 days a year as Hugh has been on occasion. Many people, some (e.g. teachers and politicians) in positions where they guide the lives of others, have no experience of such a lifestyle. Nor can they accurately imagine it. Unlike the established referral procedure of human medicine, every clients case of animal disease stops with Hugh. Such immersion in a life style does focus the mind and perhaps partly explains the accuracy of details from 40 years ago. I recall some of his characters and his descriptions are remarkably accurate.
Whites, Africans and their fascinating interface are described. His work also takes him amongst different strata of society. Whilst a gregarious character who meets lots of people, he is usually left to his own resources. He lives what many in the UK would regard as a continuous adventure. The toughness of the environment and often his work is treated as routine. He records some quite serious illnesses of his own with sardonic humour.
One agrees with the reviewer in the Veterinary Record that this book is "of real literary merit" . It can be dipped into at intervals for a satisfying read .
The publishers have requested a post 1978 follow up, which will appear in due course.

Trevor Jones
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on 25 November 2015
Kenya became an independent country in 1963. In 1966 a young Scots Veterinary Surgeon went out there to work in a general practice in the agricultural heart of the country. He had intended to see an interesting part of the world for a year or two. Today Dr. Hugh Cran is still hard at work, providing an essential service over a wide area, and despite his deprivation of sleep, he continues to love every minute of his work, his hobby climbing great mountains wherever he finds them, and his life among the ordinary folk of Kenya.
I, a Kenya born veterinary surgeon have been privileged to know Hugh from our days at the Edinburgh, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. In his usual very thorough way he has made a very good job of writing up his fascinating story. The book is unusual in describing the life of the ordinary countryside folk of Kenya in a period when most of the writings were political. The book is absorbing, easily read and is interesting, apart from the life of a Vet in Africa, for its account of the rural people in a formative period of the new country. I do recommend this book. Chris Schermbrucker
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on 3 October 2013
My son is a Vet, so I thought to buy this as a present. I did unfortunately begin to 'read' it myself, just to see if it was interesting. It caught me in its exotic way, immediately, so I have kept it to finish.

Kenya and lots of Africa has been destroyed really after the colonists left. I am shocked to write that line, Zimbabwe, and most other African countries are in turmoil.

The book paints a picture of eccentric europeans in the endgame, much like current times in South Africa.
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on 18 February 2011
An excellent description of life as a young vet in conditions that can only be described as medieval. Mr Cran perfectly explains the difficulties dealing with his varied clientele, the climate and the new diseases which he certainly would have never encountered in Aberdeenshire. The book does not carry on into more recent times, but I hope Mr Cran finds time to write a sequel.
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on 18 March 2013
If you love animals and you are fond of stories about life in Africa, this is an absolute must.
Dr. Cran arrived in Kenya just after independence ran like a bonfire through the african continent.
People have to make do under new circumstances and the dear vet has to cope with underequipment and a
huge workload. His never failing optimism and wonderful sense of humour make for entertaining tales.
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on 15 January 2015
Writing style can be difficult to get past but the stories are superb. Feel like I could have a go delivering a foal or handling a prolapse - as interesting as it is educational and all in the East African setting.
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on 21 April 2016
Excellent read for anyone with history of Kenya. Easy read with great detail and atmosphere.
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