“Martin Rickerd’s is an extraordinary story in two ways. First, and unusually, he made it to Consul-General starting at the bottom, while almost all senior diplomats start halfway up at a special graduates’ grade. Secondly, this is no mellow exercise in nostalgia and anecdote: it’s a real diary of a real career. I loved it.”
Matthew Parris, author of “The Spanish Ambassador’s Suitcase” and “Parting Shots“
Joining Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service as a filing clerk in 1972, I had little idea of the unpredictability and challenge my career would bring. Nearly 40 years later I took voluntary early retirement having served in every continent except Antarctica and reaching the level of Consul-General, the senior resident British government representative in an area three times the size of the UK.
Along the way there were encounters with a fascinating range of individuals, from monarchs and presidents to villagers trying to eke out a living on the edge of the Sahara and a drunken, drugged (or both) Kalashnikov-toting teenage soldier in Liberia.
“The Patriotic Art” recounts dozens of incidents from personal experience during a varied and colourful career. From the ineptitude of police called to deal with a somnolent 12-foot python in my Singapore garden to the American flagpole-repairman who didn’t recognise the Union Jack, there are plenty of amusing reminiscences; but also accounts of more serious events such as the evacuation of British families (including my own) from violence-wracked Ivory Coast. But even in the difficult times I tried not to lose my sense of humour.
The book is not, and does not try to be, a commentary on four decades of foreign policy. It is, rather a personal, sometimes opinionated but essentially light-hearted review of my efforts to fly the flag, successful and otherwise. It is available via Amazon (with “click to look inside“), on Kindle, or direct from Memoirs Publishing. In the US, Barnes & Noble’s website is the best way to get it.