Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The most uncool post ever!

I have finally got around to buying another copy of Adam Nicolson's book Perch Hill.

I bought my original copy in 1999 or 2000 as part of what Euan refers to as my "stalking" of Nicolson's wife the garden writer Sarah Raven. As far as I can make out, this alleged "stalking" consisted of knowing that she has a cottage on the Sound of Mull, meeting her accidentally a couple of times and buying this book which is about their move to Perch Hill Farm in East Sussex. Perhaps I wittered on a bit as well!

It is at its core one of those "daft city types moving to the country" books, but it is really much more - it chimes with my experience of the seasons, the drive to burrow into a valley, the chill spare reality of mud as well as meadows, the idea that you have to commit to an ideal - Nicolson's "Bright field" - with everything you have.

It is one of the books I re-read regularly. Or at least I did, until I lost it. I know what will have happened - I have a bad habit of forcing people to read books I enjoy, pressing volumes on them as they leave the house. Of course I never get them back and I lose most of my favourite books that way. Now I have it back in my shelves again and have already started the reread.


Gigibird said...

The similarities between you and Sarah Raven have been noted; but it's good to have a connection with someone. I'd love to have a role model.

Tracy said...

I had no idea this book was out there!
We currently live just down the road from Sarah Ravens garden and she has been a customer in my shop - truly a lovely and polite lady with an equally polite daughter shopping with her (doing the usual mum thing of buying gifts for the endless birthday parties children are invited to!)
I shall put this book on my Amazon wish list ready for the next order.
Thank you Jane for letting us all know and that it is worth a read - not uncool at all!!
Tracy x

Inthemud said...

Interesting, you've given me another book to put on my list of ones to read.

Liz said...

I enjoyed reading that book too. I find it interesting when we go to the open days at Perch Hill, trying to work out which neighbour lives in which house etc.

ChrisH said...

I'm much more selfish than you - I don't let my favourite books out of my sight but yours is probably the better way.

Suffolkmum said...

Oh good, another book to read! I hadn't even heard of it. I'm always lending/losing books too, I always really want other people to read what I love, but you'd think I'd have learned by now.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh I am a book borrower - but I do read them and I do give them back. So . . . can I borrow . . .

Wizzard said...

I have learned the hard way who I can lend things to and who not to. Yes WW you can always borrow my stuff.

carolyn said...

I love re-visiting old "friends" and having lost a few books over the years to borrowers don't lend them anymore. I don't feel at all mean about it as I do give carrier bags full of books away to friends and relatives, but only the ones I'm pretty sure I won't read again.
I didn't know about this book and shall definetly keep my eyes open for it as I, like many others, am quite fascinated by Sarah Raven; she is a human dynamo. I'll probably go buy the book unless that is you want to lend it to me?
(Only joking)

Pondside said...

I'll add that to my 'to read' list. I have stopped lending books now, after losing one too many. If I give a book, it's a gift.

Jane said...

Lynn - Way back in 1996 I got a free copy of Gardens Illustrated as part of a special offer.

It was the first time I had got the magazine, I didn't have a garden at the time, and it was a particularly good issue - along with articles on Christopher Lloyd, Carol Klein and Rosemary Verey were Andrew Lawson's photos of Sarah Raven's cutting garden.

I was given her book "The Cutting Garden" as a house warming present when we moved the following year and my first cutting garden - of flowers for the house - was based on her recommendations. Many of these recommendations are completely guaranteed to fail in central Scotland.

However,she was redeemed as the photo on the back cover of the book shows her laughing, glass of wine in hand.

Now that is my kind of woman.

Over the years Sarah has been very generous in her advice to me and I have attended a few of her courses where she is wry, funny and very approachable. I am sure that if she was not a "celebrity" I would "stalk" her more and invite her for tea.

Carolyn - I am always intrigued by Sarah Raven's media coverage - articles are typically a load of photos showing her doing slow restful things like sitting in a meadow or shelling peas set against a text which details her appallingly busy shedule.

Everyone else - I am trying to stop foisting books on people - I can't believe it but I seem to have lost my copy of Christopher Lloyds meadow book and now can't remember who was planning a meadow.


Nonnie said...

I agree with Tracy, definitely not an uncool post. Sounds like a really good read. I'm also a Sarah Raven fan and would love to visit Perch Hill to do one of their courses. I like those kind of books that you can keep going back to. I'm forever re-reading 'Under the Tuscan Sun' by Frances Mayes which also tells the tale of a move somewhere new(San Francisco to Tuscany) because I find it a kind of comforting read somehow. I will definitely look out for 'Perch Hill'.

Liz said...

cYou are so right, Sarah Raven is a lovely lady and feels like an old friend. On her courses she makes everyone feel very comfortable and on the open days she wanders around chatting with all the visitors, while her husband and girls and dogs sit taking the entrance fee. When she had a Christmas shopping morning, we could have coffee in her lovely kitchen. I want to be her!

weirdbunny said...

I'll have to get that, I love having books recomended. I also insist people read my favourite books. Then when I ask a few days later if they've read it yet, that always say they haven't started it yet !!!!!!!