This is a collection of Strong's columns from the late 1980s,
originally published in the magazine Country Life. They cover a
year in Strong's life and are structured round the seasons. This is
a delightful and gentle read. The passages are so beautifully
descriptive in tone that it is easy to imagine the author's rural
existence, centred around the garden but encompassing journeys,
friends and his beloved cats. Keen gardeners will particularly
appreciate Strong's discussions of plant varieties, but his lyrical
evocations of country joys are universally appealing. In fact, just
reading this book is a calming experience. Adding to the effect are
fine illustrations by Strong's wife, the designer Julia Trevelyan
Oman, that well complement the overall feel of contentment,
although it would have been nice to have more of them. In a
postscript written for this new edition, Strong comments on the
foot-and-mouth crisis and its effects, but points out that the
ordinary, everyday little things described in these writings remain
the same. It is comforting to note that the book ends with a
feeling of hope for the future. (Kirkus UK)
‘Sir Roy was blessed at birth, or the font, with the tongue of a ready writer. His prose is compulsive…like a glittering conversation with the best-informed and most charming of companions’ A N WILSON
Roy Strong and his wife, the designer Julia Trevelyan Oman, have lived in the country for nearly thirty years. In 1987 he was asked to write an occasional column reflecting this quintessentially English way of life. A Country Life brings these popular pieces together, portraying the passing of the seasons in what the author describes as his ‘beloved adopted county’ of Herefordshire.
A Country Life is a wide-ranging kaleidoscope of memories and observations, embracing the countryside, gardens, cooking and remembrances of things both long gone and only yesterday. The author writes lyrically of the arrival of the bright green tarragon shoots in spring; of the delights of eating al fresco; of making sorbets from medlar, blackberry and quince; and of the russet beech hedges in winter. Quinquagesima sees the arrival of Lent lilies; a bad winter is signalled by frantic bee activity among the drones; and Christmas brings a winding down before the New Year.
The keynote of A Country Life is delight – a portrait of life in the English countryside which seems as old as time itself.
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