Rev-ving it Up!

Rev-ving it Up! by Irvine Roxburgh, Cadsonbury Publications, Christchurch 1998, reviewed in Newsletter 30 by Mike Palairet.

Subtitled "in the farback Wanaka Parish of the 1950s", this little book is carried by the nexus of motoring on mainly un-paved, dusty country roads and ministering to a sprawling Presbyterian parish covering some 2,500 square kilometers. Irvine has placed his story in the context of the Presbyterian Church's Book of Rules and Forms of Procedure, from which he provides apt quotations in between his chapters. The book is also laced with some of Irvine's (and others') poetry, and the odd extract from another of his books. The atmosphere of a bygone age is enhanced by pencil drawings, mainly featuring Irvine's faithful Vauxhall Velox, drawn by his daughter. He has changed the names of his family and the many colourful characters encountered during seven years' tenure as Locum-Rev of the Wanaka Parish, but has promised to restore the names of his wife and son in the next edition.

Irvine notes that although his book may have a serious impact, it was intended to entertain, and entertain it certainly does. Its appeal lies in the contrast between pioneering, practical and very human attitudes of the local people, and what now appearsto be an almost archaic and imperious set of guidelines which Ministers were expected to apply. Irvine does not flinch from drawing humour, even at his own expense, but the signal message is the need for newcomers to adapt-or perish! Irvine and his family plainly relished adapting. A delightful aspect is that he was able to preserve honour on both sides: he was an early exponent of what is now described as "win-win".

Mike Palairet