‘Cor Blimey! Where ‘ave you come from?’ – new book by Winifred Tovey ISBN: 978-0-9565359-3-1

‘Cor Blimey! Where ‘ave you come from?’ – new book by Winifred Tovey  ISBN: 978-0-9565359-3-1

March 6, 2012 11:59 am


‘Cor Blimey! Where ‘ave you come from’ by Winifred Tovey with sections by Frank Tovey

Winnie’s description of the book:

‘Cor Blimey! Where on earth ‘ave you come from?’ asked the cabby who picked us up from Liverpool Street Station.  It was not the first time, nor the last, that we had to cause to ask ourselves the same question.

     We had spent eighteen months in China just after World War II, having to flee from Mao’s Red Army; an experience that we have written about in our book ‘Strangers in Chaotung’.  Then, after a brief stay in England, we got back on a passenger ship to travel to post-Raj India.

     Over the sixteen years that we lived and worked in Mysore our four children grew up to mix with the very rich and very poor.  One day they would be at nursery school in the Maharaja’s Palace, and, on the next, visiting remote villages, where the last few miles could only be travelled on foot and we would meet with villagers under the shade of a banyan tree.       

     When we arrived in India in 1951, the ‘old mission hands’ instructed us to ‘listen, learn and on no account express an opinion’.  But we found too much need around us.  In no time at all we were involved in extending Frank’s work as a surgeon at the Holdsworth Memorial Hospital to projects in the outlying areas.  The advent of ‘Dapsone’ (in 1950) as an effective treatment for leprosy made it possible for our team to rehabilitate leprosy sufferers and practically eradicate leprosy from local districts.  With help at home from an ayah, cook and mali, I was able to take on other projects as well, bringing bore wells and cottage industries to drought-stricken villages that had previously suffered regular famines, and assisting in the resettlement of Tibetan refugees in nearby Bylakuppe.

     Now, both in our nineties, we look back on the huge changes that have taken place in our lifetime.  We hope you will enjoy sharing our story about some of the events that shaped the India of today.

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