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Trying Times for Sebastian Scattergood

By Keith Rylands-Bolton

Written as a diary, ‘Trying Times for Sebastian Scattergood’ is set in the year 2012, a year of success for the British Olympic Team, but for Sebastian Scattergood, retired chemist and inveterate bore, it is one of personal failure. Every project he touches turns to dust. Building firms go bust on him, landscape gardeners do a runner, and his cultural tours company is sabotaged by a couple of naked German students smoking cannabis on a night walk. Similarly, family relationships take a nose-dive. It is only when he has been driven into hibernation by a savage attack in the gutter press that salvation finally arrives, in the shape of Alfred Lord Tennyson.


Set in a small village in the Lincolnshire Wolds, part disaster diary, part social satire, ‘Trying Times for Sebastian Scattergood’ is a novel of literary fiction which is both humorous and moving in equal measure.


A delightful read! There's a kind of comfort in entering Sebastian's world, as he does battle with a relentless barrage of slings and arrows, while retaining a classic middle England optimism, without a hint of self irony. And there's a hidden bonus! Sebastian's Rough Guide to great walks in the Lincolnshire Wolds: the inspiration for so much of the work of Sebastian's literary hero, Tennyson.

Alan Mumby,

Chair of Far Welter'd, East Lincolnshire Dialect Society

“I have just finished reading ‘Trying Times for Sebastian Scattergood’ and really enjoyed how beautifully it all tied together, thanks to the milkman, a data stick and a good friend.  I looked up Lincolnshire villages, trails, walks, trees and wildflowers while I read, and checked on films, poems and stories.  The relationships were lovely: partner, parents, chums, neighbours and ways of spending time together. And what great illustrations!  I liked the important presence of food.  I didn't see the end coming, probably a consequence of reading it in spurts.  It was lovely to rediscover a pleasure in old Alfred Lord Tennyson, who after a dozen years of my being surrounded by his paper and stuff, had faded in glory.”

Grace Timmins,

Former Collections Officer of the Tennyson Research Centre, Lincoln.



( KRybo )

Keith Rylands-Bolton was born in the Fens and now lives in the Wolds. He has been writing for many years, more actively since he retired in 2010. He was shortlisted in 2017 for the ‘Spotlight First Novel’ Competition run by Adventures in Fiction for his unpublished novel, ‘In the Land of the Beehive’.

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