This attractive little book is a beauitfully written ode to village life. I read it cover to cover on a rainy December afternoon and it made me yearn for summer days exploring hidden corners of our green and pleasant land.
It's a book to read as a whole rather than a reference book to dip in and out of it since the author refers back to earlier mentions and past chapters. It's divided into chapters on subjects close to village life such as the church, the manor house, farming and of course the pub. It brings us from the pre-Roman era right up to date, with mentions of research into dark matter down village mines and, inevitably, Downton Abbey.
The enchanting text throws up many interesting nuggets of information. For example, the origins of the name for morris dancing, what the surname "Baxter" means and lots more. While lamenting losses the author celebrates the great, and whilst remembering past suffering in villages he points out the warmth and generosity of forgotten people of the past.
Coming from Leeds, the book has a bit of a Yorkshire bias, which is no bad thing at all. Many of the author's examples and anecdotes hail from Yorkshire, but there are many from across England as well as Wales and Scotland. The book is cloth bound and features woodcut-style illustrations throughout, with a timeless charm on its dustjacket.
An attractivly presented little book, more than just a pretty gift.