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Long before smartphones, laptops, computers, typewriters, there were pencils to scribble with and ink pens to dip into bottles and ink wells.

And faced with a blank sheet of paper and contemplating the bottomless well of a blank brain he might have resorted to chewing the end of the dipping pen or pencil. Impossible now, of course.

His grown-up children had long exhorted him to write up his memories of childhood in exotic places when the world was young, before they were born. But what he couldn’t settle down to, what had eluded him so far, was the voice to use.

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