Shaun McKenna documents his search for the dream country life in a new book

It was a bright spring day, almost no clouds in the sky and the pollen count was up, because I can still remember my eyes streaming at the time. There I was, just minding my own business, unusually I was behaving myself too, walking with friends across the main grassed area in the middle of the school.

Out of nowhere and totally taking me by surprise I heard a voice, not shouting, but bellowing and the voice was aimed at me. The sound echoed as it bounced off the buildings surrounding the large lawned courtyard and immediately I recognised without having to think about it, that those dulcet tones belonged to Mr Kilby my English teacher.

What was he bellowing and indeed, why was it aimed at me of all people?

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“McKenna, where’s your ‘Crucible’ essay!” I stopped dead in my tracks, paused for a moment to concoct a suitable response then turned and slowly walked towards this giant of a man in his pristine grey tweed suit and polished brown brogues, to somehow, once again talk my way out of another awkward situation.

I don’t recall exactly what I said at the time, but it did the trick. After leaving school and launching myself into the world of work, it was some 18 years or so later, when as part of my work selling Cow & Gate babyfood, I walked into a pharmacy in the East Yorkshire resort of Hornsea.

Whilst I was waiting to be seen, I was browsing the shelves and it was then that I once again heard those same dulcet tones which I’d not heard for almost two decades. I turned and indeed it was he, the very same Mr Kilby, standing at the counter in front of me. He looked my way and immediately smiled as he recognised that ginger kid from his English class.

So, why mention this? Well, I highlight this tale as I’m sure that he, alongside many other teachers from my school days who felt that I had what it took to achieve more, but my application wasn’t all that it should have been, would have been surprised and hopefully a little proud of the fact that just this week my very first book, Waiting for Doric, has at last been published.

At the beginning of 2017 I began to put pen to paper, well actually I started tapping the keyboard keys on the computer and commenced with writing this book which I had talked about for far too long. Even before I started, I knew what I wanted to say, but the challenge was how to put it all down on paper in such a way that people would care to read it and hopefully enjoy what they were reading.

The story goes way back to the beginning, giving a little insight into my childhood, my upbringing and meeting the girl of my dreams, before taking that almighty leap out of suburbia into the country.

The story unfolds as our life in the country goes from excited adventure to mishap, from overwhelming delight to heartbreak, but ‘Living the Dream’ is what we were after and that’s what we’ve got.

I totally underestimated the time it would take to write such a book, and so many people have assisted, but particular mention needs to go to our daughter, Olivia, who was the brains behind turning the manuscript into the finished book which can be purchased through Amazon on paperback or on kindle.