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A Colourful Reminder of Mexico

NO sooner had The White Peacock made its entrance than I began thinking of other D.H.Lawrence novels whose titles would make interesting pictures.

Step forward - or maybe that should be 'wriggle forward' - The Plumed Serpent, a novel I bought in Mexico City 50 years ago and have never actually read.

In fact, it's the only Lawrence book I've never got round to reading, and I can't really explain why.

Maybe this momentary revival of interest should prompt me to scour my shelves for my long-lost copy, which somehow failed to reach the Lawrence Section of my private library. I know there's a note scribbled inside saying 'Bought in Mexico City, 1968', marking my coverage of the Olympic Games of that year.

Old books provide context to our lives. That Mexico assignment brings back many happy memories. The Plumed Serpent - discovered languishing for sale on a street cart - reminds me how privileged I felt covering the world's greatest sporting event at the age of 24.

It was while there that I quit smoking cigarettes. I ran up some steps in the very thin air of Mexico City and was exhausted by the time I reached the top. I blamed it on smoking and threw my packet of Senior Service into a bin. I haven't touched a cigarette since.

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