Last week I went to the local Society for Editors & Proofreaders meet-up. It’s only the second time I’ve attended; everyone seems very friendly and keen to talk shop. There was a debate about whether eggs Benedict need a capital ‘B’ and, if not, whether eggs New York should therefore take lower case. I was surprised that people talk so much about work at these meet-ups, but having just read the last sentence back to myself, perhaps I’m not all that surprised. Every now and then you need people to talk to about capitalisation and apostrophes!
At the weekend I went to the thirtieth meeting of the W. E. Johns Appreciation Society. For those of you who don’t know Captain W. E. Johns, he was the author of well over a hundred ‘Biggles’ books. Many people don’t know that he also wrote other series – not only the ‘Worrals’, ‘Gimlet’ and ‘Steeley’ books for young people, but a science fiction series, romance novels for adults, and nonfiction books on aviation and gardening.
I’m too young to be part of the ‘Biggles generation’ – the biggest W. E. Johns fans tend to be around the age of my parents or older – but my parents enjoyed the books and read them to me, and I became a fan in turn. I also find the geekiness of the true Biggles fans fascinating, and on Saturday, among other topics I enjoyed talks about Tierra del Fuego (the scene for Biggles at World’s End) and the role played by an obscure Leicestershire aerodrome – now disused – in the war effort (it was an important ferrying base).