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Next to Nature: A Lifetime in the English Countryside

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These times are so worrying with such terrible suffering and poverty,we pray and hope for better times but this book is a wonderful read.

I’ve been reading this over Christmas along with Guy Shrubsole’s brilliant new The Lost Rainforests of Britain, and I’ve enjoyed every moment. Slightly Foxed brings back forgotten voices through its Slightly Foxed and Plain Foxed Editions, a series of beautifully produced little pocket hardback reissues of classic memoirs, all of them absorbing and highly individual.The Hogarth Press where I’m working, is in the heart of the literary world, with authors coming in all the time.

To immerse yourself in this East Anglian year is be reminded of why we love and value the rhythms and realities of rural life. Next to Nature is a hoard of observation, gossip and stories designed to take you through the year, with something rich and strange on every page -- Hilary Spurling * The Spectator, Books of the Year 2022 * [Ronald Blythe] is an English institution . However these are minor irritations and do not detract too much from what are very rich and perceptive insights. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded their prestigious Benson Medal in 2006.The structure is perfect, compiling Blythe's columns from the Church Times by date, but not by year, so that we read through the circular time of the natural and ecclesiastical year, without altogether knowing where we are in a linear time that seems far less significant out in this little patch of the old rural England, where any self-respecting village needs something to hang dreadful stories on; Borley Rectory was just down the road, and "This was a Mabey walk to rival his walk with me to Wormingford Mere where, although I don't like to boast, we have a dragon. And no wonder, when he seems such wise and genial company, one of those rare souls who understands that "it takes an age to create one's own peerless dust and muddle.

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