on 6 August 2013
Last Tuesday night my wife suggested watching "Too long a winter" - the first of 3 DVDs about the dales farmers and Hannah Hauxwell in particular. I had never heard of "Hannah" but so captivated was I that I stayed up half the night watching them all! Driving down to England on business the following day I could not stop thinking about this remarkable lady and ordered this book that very evening. As my trip brought me back up the A1 later in the week, I found my car straying off the A66 and up into "Hannah's Baldersdale" on a beautiful summer's evening. Walking the last mile or so I finally found myself at "Hannah's Meadow", now a nature reserve. Reading the book (I haven't quite finished it yet) it is striking that a vibrant community gradually abandoned the dale after the last war and by 1973 "Hannah" really was a castaway - "one of the last". But whilst her vivid descriptions of the people and the way of life are told with affection, they are not sentimentalised, lending the stories a a profound authenticity as well as charm. Today the high farms of "Baldersdale" (including Low Birk Hat) look to be mostly occupied again - perhaps better roads and communications, so perhaps some of that life has come back again - in a different way.
on 10 April 2009
A story of how easy it can be to become 'forgotten' and cut off from everyday life and services that we take for granted and in many cases - demand. Hannah's story is thought provoking in that my reaction was - what if the televison producer Barry Cockcroft had not come across her lonely farmhouse ...... how much longer could she have realisticly survived on her megre income, dressed in rags and living in a dilapidated farmhouse with no heating, lighting or running water? Hannah is a survivor in the very best tradition of the work hard, don't complain and count your blessings generation. Inspiring.
on 20 July 2013
In 1961 when women in this country were beginning to exercise their newly found liberties, one women tucked deep within a north country dale began a period of eleven years in which she lived in almost total isolation. She had no running water, electricity or telephone. This complete isolation was a result of the death of her one surviving close relative, her uncle. Hitherto they, and her late mother, had experienced a growing sense of aloneness as the community that they had all grown up in dwindled away as neighbouring farming families packed up and moved away.
This book, published in 1991 comprises an omnibus edition of two previously published books about the lady in question, a Miss Hannah Hauxwell: Seasons of My Life and Daughter of the Dales. Barry Cockcroft who `discovered' her in 1972 when he was a producer working for Yorkshire Television, has created the framework of each book but the `innards' of each are the words of Hannah herself. She tells of her life in Baldersdale, her family history, the traditional farming methods of a north country dale in the Victorian and pre-WW2 times, (although she continued them until she left her beloved farm, Low Birk Hatt, finally in 1988) and general country ways, amongst much else besides. We also learn of the eventual sale of her farm and her subsequent transition and beginnings of an adaptation to `normal' life in a nearby village. Too, we are given insight into her burgeoning life as a `celebrity', although this was not a tag that she ever accepted, regarding herself, rather, as a daleswoman.
All is eminently fascinating and utterly beguiling. The subsequent passage of time, since her coming to the attention of the public, has not abated the appeal of Hannah and her life that is generated upon reading this book. It is easy to understand why she became a national treasure back in the 1970s. And why, perhaps uniquely, she transcended any attempts the media may have thought about to seek to bring her down.
The life she describes, whilst undoubtedly hard, nonetheless has that eternal attraction for the urban dweller, who, like me, takes comfort in acquainting themselves with long ago lost traditions and rhythms of nature. In our hearts we all yearn for a simpler life and Hannah's life seems to epitomise such a life in spades.
This is not a book to be overlooked; it holds much of comfort and interest to hurried and often frazzled C21st people.
This book is an account of the solitary Daleswoman named Hannah Hauxwell. She came into the public eye during the 1970s when a TV documentary discovered her. Living in the bleak, desolate Pennines, Hannah's struggle to survive inspired many followers. Although living on a meagre income, the lives of her beloved animals (her only companions) were utmost in her mind. Despite having no electricity and her running water was a nearby stream, Hannah clung on to her independence for as long as she could before selling up and moving to a nearby cottage with the trappings of modern life. Hot water from the tap came as quite a shock to her!
This book contains two volumes that have been written about her life, her upbringing, the devastating loss of her close family and her struggle to single-handedly manage her 70 acre farm. This is an interesting portrait of life in a village from the perspective of those who have lived there. We learn of the various families who lived and worked alongside Hannah and her family through first hand accounts. It is lovely to read of Hannah's connection with the land, her animals and her experiences of being brought into the limelight. There are plenty of photographs to help paint the picture of life through the ages. I found this book a lovely read despite never having seen the programme from which it was inspired.
on 31 August 2012
I bought this book after I did the Pennine Way which enters through Low Birk Hatt Farm and Hannah's Meadow, where Hannah Hauxwell used to live. I had previously purchased the DVD's on Hannah's life i.e. Too Long A Winter and An Innocent Abroad. The lady has been such an inspiration, living in desperate times and poor living conditions so that she could keep her family home and tend her cattle. She had no running water, no electricity (until later in her life) and her groceries were left on a wall once a month for her to collect in all weathers. Unfortunately due to poor health, Hannah sold up the property and now lives in a nearby village. I am only half way through the book, it is a sad and also happy tale as Hannah "just gets on with living". Hannah comes over as a quiet and reserved well educated person who loves living in the Yorkshire Dales and is also content in any social situation. The DVD and book meant she became well known, however this did not phase her or change her personality, she seems such a sweet and considerate person who is happy and content in herself.
on 31 March 2016
A fascinating lady, the book is better than the DVD in my view, more detail well illustrated loved the photo pages . Watched the programme of Hannah when the story was told, first living on the farm in a near Victorian life. Was struck by her innocence and her gentle manner living with only her farm animals, she sure had strength. Pleased to see she is still living out her life in a nearby cottage, still in the Dales.
Can I also add the book is in beautiful condition, it has been looked after, and being hard back it has be a bonus of a buy. Good prompt service well done.