Join us in the Village of Bilbury
Dr Vernon Coleman
For over 30 years I have been writing about the trials and tribulations of a young doctor working in the village of Bilbury in the English county of Devon. There are now 15 books in the series and, in spirit at least, the doc never grows any older. All 15 books are available from amazon.
The village is the sort of traditional rural idyll where every home has a log fire and no one bothers to lock their doors. And there is, of course, a pub (`The Duck and Puddle’) which is the friendliest of hostelries and which serves the best food and drink in the county if not in the entire West of England.
`Bilbury Chronicles’, the first in the series, describes the adventures (and misadventures) of a young doctor who enters general practice as an assistant to an elderly and rather eccentric doctor in North Devon. Like all the books it is set in the 1970s.
When he arrives in Bilbury, a small village on the edge of Exmoor and just a stone’s throw from the sea, the young doctor doesn’t realise how much he has to learn. But he soon finds the true extent of his ignorance when he meets his patients.
There’s Anne Thwaites, who gives birth to her first baby in a field, Thumper Robinson who knows a few tricks that aren’t in any textbooks and Mike Trickle, a TV quiz show host who causes great excitement when he buys a house in the village. (Mike Trickle also appears in the book and film `Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War’.)
Then there is the elderly Dr Brownlow, the young doctor’s employer, who lives in a house that looks like a castle, drives an old Rolls Royce and patches his stethoscope with a bicycle inner tube repair kit; Frank the inebriate landlord of the `Duck and Puddle’ and Peter who runs the village shop, drives the local taxi, delivers the mail and works as the local undertaker.
There’s Miss Johnson, the receptionist with a look that can curdle milk; Mrs Wilson, the buxom district nurse and Len her husband who is the local policeman with an embarrassing secret.
The first three books in the Bilbury series have now been published, unabridged, as audio books. The publisher is American but the books are, quite properly, read by a professional English voice artist - Rory Barnett. The audio version of `Bilbury Chronicles’ lasts eight hours and 24 minutes.
The books received fantastic newspaper and magazine reviews when they came out and the series has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. Several of the books have been serialised and enjoyed by millions of magazine readers.
These are dark, difficult and often depressing times. I hope you’ll visit the village of Bilbury and its wonderful inhabitants. It’s where Antoinette and I live - it is our escape from a too often cruel and frightening world.
Copyright Vernon Coleman April 2023