More thrills than skills – A half-life in journalism, part 88

Over the next few weeks, is to publish, each weekday, edited extracts from the memoirs of Scottish war correspondent, Paul Harris. ‘More thrills than skills: A half-life in journalism’, is being scheduled for publication next year.

HENRY Boot is one of the great comic characters of English literature. The creation of Evelyn Waugh, he is a splendid pastiche of the foreign correspondent off to cover a remote war in the Horn of Africa, and a hilarious caricature of the Englishman abroad.

Although it was written in the 1930’s, Waugh’s novel, Scoop, remains a classic yet to be superceded.

I still recommend it for all visitors to Eritrea, where much of the fictitious action is set.

I re-read the book rather often. Although the hero succeeds in staying with the story and resisting expulsion, the travails of Henry Boot are reminiscent of some of my own adventures.

The British passport used to be a really splendid document. Surely no self-respecting Briton could stand in that dreary arrival line in some remote airport, clutching a good old-fashioned passport with its reassuring stiff covers, and not feel a certain frisson of superiority?