• Pages: 112
  • Format: 210 x 148mm
  • Publication date: 1 October 2018
  • Genre: Humour, Gift Ideas
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Silk ribbon, head- & tailband
  • ISBN: 9781910898147
Made in Britain

A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book: Wonders & Absurdities

Philip Rhys Evans


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‘Life as a country GP exposes one to an extraordinary range of people and situations – always fascinating, sometimes absurd, often sad and poignant. I hope this small book catches something of that infinite variety.’

Each Christmas for the past sixteen years Dr Philip Evans has sent his friends and family a small booklet of ‘wonders and absurdities’ gleaned from many different sources over the year. When he sent the booklets to us they made us laugh so much we decided to publish a selection. The result is A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book, a very personal look at the pleasures and eccentricities of English life from a well-read individual with a keen sense of humour and many decades of observing his fellow men and women in his work as a Suffolk GP.

Together with his wife Christine, Dr Evans makes an annual selection according to a set of unwritten and undisclosed criteria which include ‘delight, surprise, wit, beauty, good sense and absurdity’. There’s certainly plenty of the latter, but Dr Evans – now retired – is a man of many interests, and wine, cricket, poetry, his passion for Chekhov and P. G. Wodehouse, the arcane goings-on of the Church of England, and the bizarre oddities of British politics all feature, along with wise and pithy words on marriage, health and family life. His varied sources include anecdotes from friends, overheard country conversations, letters to editors, correspondence with HMRC, and a rich vein of announcements from parish newsletters.

Altogether this is a little book we’d say you can’t do without in these serious and uncertain times. Slip it into a dear one’s Christmas stocking, give it to a friend or even buy it for yourself.

‘Low self-esteem support group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m., please use the back door.’ Lark Valley Benefice Newsletter

‘Researchers found that the least spread of bacteria from surgeons occurred if they were naked and lightly oiled.’ Letter to The Times

‘Dear Sir, The letters on amusing village names remind me of my favourite graffito. In south Lincolnshire, under the signpost “To Mavis Enderby and Old Bolinbroke” someone had added “The gift of a son”.’ From Neil Noble

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Comments & Reviews

  1. J. Gilfrin says:

    I just wanted to thank you so much for my order of A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book. It arrived last week, so carefully packed and in immaculate condition. I was particularly touched by the postcard with a message from Olivia enclosed with it, and the bookmark. The book itself, beautifully printed, is an absolute delight. If I find myself feeling a bit down, I pick it up and open at random, and immediately feel better! Many thanks for this and all your excellent publications, not least the wonderful quarterly magazine. Best wishes to you all.

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