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Wessex Diaries

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Sketches from life in Hardy Country

John Vallins has been contributing fortnightly for nearly twenty years to The Guardian‘s Country Diary column. These sketches are small gems of country life preserved not in aspic but subtle prose.

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Sketches from life in Hardy Country

John Vallins has been contributing fortnightly for nearly twenty years to The Guardian‘s Country Diary column. These sketches are small gems of country life preserved not in aspic but subtle prose.

Here you will find The Pig-handling Parson, A Pigeon called Jeremy, Cidermaking and Hurdlemaking, the Odcombian Leg-stretcher, Blacksmiths, Hedgehogs and Dimmer Dump. Scythes and Dewponds, Smoked Eel and Prize Cattle, Apple Day and Heavy Horses, Sheep Shearing and Hydraulic Rams, Foals, Winterbournes and Compton Pauncefoot’s Bells.

“That plain power of narrative which I’d experienced as a teenager is still there in John’s simple writing. Part naturalist; part journalist; part historian; part anthropologist, he makes little voyages of discovery around Somerset, revealing a form of rural English life that many townsfolk must have assumed died years ago. He stops and talks to country people, gently teasing out their stories…

“There have been some great Guardian country diarists in the history of the much-loved and read column. John Vallins is up there with the best of them.” – Alan Rusbridger – Editor of The Guardian

Illustrations by Tim Millar. Foreword by Alan Rusbridger.

Additional information

Weight 0.6 kg
Dimensions 20 × 24 × 2 cm

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