After three years working as a young vet in rural Aberdeenshire, Hugh Cran decided that it was time for a change. He got it. He took a post in Kenya and, forty years later, he's still there, still working, still loving every exasperating, challenging, unexpected moment.
This is a page-turning account of working as a vet at the sharp end.
Cattle owned by the Maasai herdsmen or the white settlers might take up most of Hugh's time, but these cattle are assailed by lightning strike, snake bites, disease passed on by zebra and wildebeest. He's up against sun cancer, witch doctors - who knows what to expect next?
Travelling miles on rough roads, Hugh never knows if he will be performing surgery on dirty sacks, besieged by every species of Kenyan insect, by the light of a failing car-headlamp!
But the colourful people who frequent Hugh's Nukuru practice, the sheer vitality of the Kenyan scene and the rewarding nature of the grinding task in hand, keep him answering that persistent phone, day and night, and heading off into the unknown.
Author: Hugh Cran
ISBN: 978 1 873674 96 3
Published: September 2007
No. of pages: 384
Reviewed by Zoe Banks in August 2008
Literary, laugh a minute page-turner about Kenya's eccentrics, as seen though the eyes of their vet. The book is a panoply of exquisite observations, wittily expressed and with a modesty that belies the author's remarkable veterinary and personal accomplishments. Featuring virtually every creature from the camel to the chameleon, against the rich and often outrageous backdrop of a veritable Bayeux Tapestry of owners, this is a startlingly unique and highly valuable addition to each of the genres into which it so easily fits. It will be read for years to come - and would especially lend itself to being read aloud.
Reviewed by Ms Eas Banks in August 2008
IF YOU ONLY BUY ONE BOOK THIS YEAR MAKE SURE THAT IT IS THIS ONE!
Reviewed by Rob Fletcher of Scottish Field in November 2007
'In 1966 the newly-qualified vet Hugh Cran traded his safe Aberdeenshire practice for one in Kenya – at that time a country hissing with man-eating lions, gin-swilling colonialists and machete-swinging natives. This book recounts his experiences and explains why, some 40 years later, he remains working in this colourful continent.'
Reviewed in Farmer's Guardian in October 2007
'Excellently written and in turns laugh-aloud funny and deeply moving.'
Reviewed in UK Vet magazine in January 2008
'This proved to be a most enjoyable and, in its way, instructive book. As well as the expected anecdotes about large and small animal medicine, with an exotic twist, there is plenty of atmosphere of life for a young European in the colonies. And it is certainly not all pink gins and evenings in the club. I would happily recommend it.'
Reviewed in Veterinary Record in February 2008
'It is absorbing reading and a very considerable achievement…..of real literary merit.'
Reviewed in NFU Countryside Magazine in November 2007
'As you read this book you’ll smile, wince, be absorbed and wonder at Hugh’s ability to remain calm when all around is chaos. This is a good read and will certainly brighten up a winter’s evening.'