I have read Simon Dawson's column in the North Devon Journal, and enjoyed his style for a long time now, so it has been with great anticipation that I have been looking forward to reading his first book.
I have not been disappointed. Simon has taken a new slant, on a popular and current subject, and rekindled my interest in numerous topics.
The book is split into 12 sections or chapters, taking on diverse topics such as gardening, baking, dairying and brewing. Meat, livestock and butchery. Arts and crafts, natural preparations, recycling and re-newables.
Each chapter gives an overview of the subject and a basic idea of what is needed and involved. On Simon's admission these will not be the definitive guide but should spark the interest and inspire you to see how easy it is to try something new.
The book is not just for smallholders or hobby farmers. It is just as relevant to someone with no garden in a bed-sit. You can take as much or as little from it and adapt it to your own lifestyle and needs.
As well as the basic "how to" Simon has included some excellent recipes which include family favourites, as well as the complete no waste, "nose to tail" eating, which his wife is famous for, producing many delicacies on their farmers market stall, utilising this philosophy.
Simon has obviously been helped and inspired by his lovely wife, Debbie, and his wonderful friends. He has taken their help and ideas, as well as all the practical things already a part of his lifestyle, and then presents them all in an attractive format, which is easy to read and refer to in his own very readable, chatty style.
I can heartily recommend this book. You won't be disappointed.