Doctor Philip’s prescription, `have a laugh, twice a day’

Philip Rhys Evans, the former Bury St Edmunds doctor, who has a hit with his A Country Doctor's Comm

Philip Rhys Evans, the former Bury St Edmunds doctor, who has a hit with his A Country Doctor's Commonplace Book published by Slightly Foxed - Credit: Slightly Foxed

For the past 16 years Dr Philip Evans has been collecting anecdotes, funny stories and novelties, and sending them to his family and friends to delight and amuse them at Christmas.

You could say he was prescribing laughter.

Now some of those amusements, many collected during his days working as a Suffolk GP, have been brought together in A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book; Wonders and Absurdities.

The volume has been proving a bit of a Christmas hit for publishers Slightly Foxed.

In these days of doom and gloom, and that B word, we could do with a laugh.

Turning the pages, there are hilarious parish notes and newspaper headlines, stories about travelling and, plenty of funny tails of a medical nature – many of them “laugh out loud” moments.

Dr Evans, 73, has now retired after 40 years in practice in Bury St Edmunds, and still lives in Suffolk.

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He is married to Christine and they have three daughters and a large extended family.

He said: “The book was published in October and I have had some lovely reviews.

“I have always loved words, and language.

“We only have a little house here, but lots of books. and my favourite relaxation is reading.

“I started in 2002. I had been buying John Julius Norwich’s Christmas commonplace books for some years and I thought I would collect a few items myself.

“My wife and three daughters encouraged me.

“I produced the first one for my family and a few friends, it was 28 pages.

“Now I collect items over the year, and friends spot them and send them to me.

“I usually make a selection about October and get my wife’s opinion on them too.”

He had been a subscriber to the Slightly Foxed literary magazine, he said, and asked them if they were interested.

He said: “I was very surprised when they said it would be good to make a selection, from the 16 years, and publish a small book.

“Now, apparently, it is going to a second print.”

A Country Doctor’s Commonplace Book is for sale, price £14, from Slightly Foxed Ltd.