Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.You may remember Robert Macfarlane’s book The Old Ways which was for me the best non-fiction book I’d read last year. in it, he praised the writer George Borrow, and as his books were free on Amazon I downloaded a load of them.

Well so far it’s been a disappointment and this latest batch has not improved things. Letters To His Mother was well nothing to write home about. Neither was Signelid or The Talisman. Ballads (the second a translation from an original Pushkin work that did nothing for me.

But the worst was The Bible In Spain. A report of his travels in that country (and Portugal as well). Basically he was palming off Protestant bibles in a catholic country as if he was the bringer of truth. Also with the one exception of being a skilled linguist his attitude was that of the Englishman abroad.

It was noticeable too that when Spaniards made anti-Semitic remarks against Portuguese or Barbary Jews there was no attempt in the book to defend them. Which suggests to me that he had a low opinion of the Jewish people as well.

George Borrow being a skilled linguist could obviously bore people in many tongues.

Meanwhile the Welsh Borders is where we find Oliver Balch in his 2016 book Under The Trump where he chats about moving to there from Argentina…..as you do.

Hay-On-Wye being both Welsh and famous for it’s book festival should be a place I’d want to visit, and I do. But so far circumstance has not been kind. This book however is the next best thing. As it chronicles not just the festival but pub drinkers, farmers,market holders all Hay On Wye  human life is here which is to it’s credit.

What makes this book different and well worth a read is the sense of a community changing but unsure what will it evolve to. Whilst the old values have a powerful pull so have the new forces as well. It’s caught a particular and possibly important moment in time.

And this was the library book I’ve just finished.

One Lady Shepherd

Now this cover doesn’t help Ms Grey who in this 2012 book was a twenty three year old shepherd in Northumberland any favours. I look at the carefully placed wisps of hair and the clear complexion and think that it’s been photoshopped. After all my knowledge of Northumberian Shepherding begins and ends with this book but I seriously don’t believe she looks like that on an October morning.

(Mind you let me be clear that I personally would not be attracted to Ms Grey. As for this domestic wolf a phobic even in my teenaged testosteroned years the greatest passion killer was when a woman said she had a dog. In this book she has four of them!)

Also the lack of any pictures showing her at work is a pity. You see once you start this then you know what an amiable read it is. Rather like the new Doctor Who you soon don’t think of her as a woman but as a shepherd who despite what nature throws is good at her job.

It would be interesting to see what she’s doing now.

Me? I’m off to read the next book.

Until the next time.