Leamington Covid patient's close brush with death inspired him to write his first book

His daughter helped save his life when she spotted how ill he sounded during a family call

Jeff Boswell has penned his memoirs Scenes From An Accidental Life.
Jeff Boswell has penned his memoirs Scenes From An Accidental Life.

A close brush with death was the inspiration behind an 86-year-old Leamington man's decision to write his first book.

Jeff Boswell, who has penned his memoirs Scenes From An Accidental Life, has lived for several years in Binswood Avenue, and before that was a resident of Lansdowne Circus.

He was hospitalised with Covid during the first wave of the pandemic in April last year and at his age and with other medical problems was not expected to survive.

Jeff Boswell has penned his memoirs Scenes From An Accidental Life.

After intensive care in Warwick Hospital medics were surprised one morning to see Jeff waving cheerfully to them from his isolation room.

But home again Jeff was facing some long-Covid symptoms and, as he told his step-daughter, months of afternoon television.

Her immediate remedy was to 'write that book you've been talking about for years'.

Daughter Asya did not come into Jeff's life until he was in his 60s and wanted to know more about the times before he married her Russian mother who now lives in Moscow.

And Jeff has more than his book for which to thank her as Asya and her mother probably saved his life.

Concerned about how ill he sounded during their phone calls, Asya contacted Italian police. They got through to Warwickshire officers and paramedics were dispatched to Jeff's retirement flat in Oakfield House.

A retired businessman, who spent much of his working life travelling the world, Jeff wrote during the lockdowns and it was a useful intellectual exercise for the normally active music, art and literature loving octogenarian.

From his working class roots in Nuneaton, the book follows his very eventful life as a world traveller before returning to his Warwickshire roots and settling in Leamington.

The author’s story begins with his miner grandfathers’ trek from the Black Country to Nuneaton in search of a better life, and then paints a vivid picture of growing up here in the mid-part of last century.

Born in 1935, the author was educated in Nuneaton and was well-known in Warwickshire youth council circles. Apprenticed in Coventry, he recalls times at the influential Umbrella Arts Club that functioned here during the 1950s. His opening chapters will stir memories for older readers and give later generations an idea of life here in those distant days.

Jeff Boswell worked as an international industrial negotiator based in the New Forest and the Bournemouth area, but returned to Warwickshire aged 50. In his post-retirement years, he has lectured frequently in the Leamington and Warwick area on Italian art and other historical subjects.

A constant theme of the book is how minor and accidental incidents can change the course of a life and knock all your plans and ambitions off balance. In a life occasionally overshadowed by the malignant spectre of the late Robert Maxwell, other highlights include meetings with prime ministers, a presentation at Buckingham Palace, expulsion from the Soviet Union, a flirtatious meeting with Jack Lemmon’s wife, and an expletive-rich directive from Diana Dors.

Copies are available from local independent bookshops or [email protected] or call 01926 337344.