This is the gloriously nostalgic story of Malcolm’s first year as an 18-year-old country fire-fighter. Set amidst the fields, farms and historic homes of rural Shropshire it opens a window on a long-lost world of larger than life characters, unlikely emergency calls and, to Malcolm’s complete astonishment, an awful lot of very unlucky animals. The story begins with his first day in a Shropshire fire station – a place where smoking was encouraged rather than just allowed and where a full bar served drinks practically 24 hours a day (fire engine drivers were limited to just four pints while on duty). It was a world where some of Malcolm’s colleagues had been with the brigade for longer than he had been alive.
The book is a unique account of one eventful, probationary year in the fire service. It takes a teenage lad on an exciting and unexpected journey. From day one, right until the day he gets the results of his exams, it tells the story of a county boy growing up, gaining responsibility – and even putting out fires.
Malcolm Castle is the longest serving fire-fighter on the watch in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. He recently celebrated his 30th year at the station – and has given nearly 300 after-dinner speeches about his life in the fire-service. His most popular talks are of his early days in the fire brigade in the late 1970s and early 80s – a time when crews tackled fires wearing plastic leggings, plastic gloves and cork hats covered in highly flammable gloss paint. Funnily enough he says his most popular anecdotes aren’t necessarily about the big fires he has tackled: often they are abou...
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