Head over Heels

First published: 1992

head over heelsThis is the sequel to Over the Top with Jim, when Hughie’s childhood ended as he sat in a Ford Consul car kissing his red-haired girlfriend. Readers of Over the Top wanted to know whether he and the red-head got married and also, what was his “eight-month false start in life” all about. Head Over Heels covers Hughie’s four-year cadetship as a cub reporter from age 18 to 23. At 23 Hughie and his Davis Cup tennis-playing mate Kenny Fletcher left Australia in 1964 seeking adventures. Thus Head Over Heels is the prequel to Hugh’s Hong Kong-China memoir Spies Like Us. Readers of Over the Top with Jim had also demanded more stories about Hugh’s larger-than-life Russian mate Jim (Dimitri) Egoroff who, in Head Over Heels, shifts refrigerators and English grammar with equal ease. And then there is the luminous fellow cadet reporter Sallyanne Kerr who has no idea that the torch Hugh carries for her could light up Brisbane.

“Brilliantly witty…a wonderfully innocent beguiling book” Professor Ross Fitzgerald The Age

I was cutting through the library when I was knocked backwards by what I saw. Among piles of old newspapers on sloping benches I saw at last what I had once read about in a poem by Andrew Marvel: “An hundred years should go to praise thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze”. There, chatting by bundles of torn, twisting browning newspapers was a slender, prim dark-haired girl with pale skin, big brown liquid eyes like Judy Garland’s, dark eye lashes, red lips and a button nose. Not only did she walk in beauty, but all that was best of dark and light really did meet in her aspect and her eyes.
Now I knew why someone had written that tune: “Beautiful beautiful brown eyes…I’ll never love blue eyes again…” I was so excited I ran around the building until I found someone who knew who she was.

Her name was Sallyanne Kerr, a cadet reporter from the Telegraph. She was the best thing that had happened to me. She proved what I had started to disbelieve: that such beauty did indeed exist outside poetry books. I decided to try to get to know her.

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