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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Last month, I spent two weeks in the south of France with my partner. I'm not really much of a reader and often spend a lot of my time on my computer, wasting my evenings away, or out socialising with friends. I would often buy books but I never get round to reading them. However my partner is very keen on reading so I thought these two weeks would be the perfect...
Published on 7 Oct. 2007 by I. Snowsill

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1.0 out of 5 stars Charity shop special
Rattling on and on about how difficult the change was from city to country. Yeah, if he'd moved to Nairobi from London I could find that interesting but waffling on about mice in the house, ants in pants.- mate, you're in England. No funny 'moments' to laugh out loud to. Charity shop had my copy after reading it.

If Heat magazine give a good review, never...
Published 10 months ago by kimster


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, 7 Oct. 2007
By 
I. Snowsill (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
Last month, I spent two weeks in the south of France with my partner. I'm not really much of a reader and often spend a lot of my time on my computer, wasting my evenings away, or out socialising with friends. I would often buy books but I never get round to reading them. However my partner is very keen on reading so I thought these two weeks would be the perfect opportunity to read a book I bought two years earlier in Leicester train station, Tales of the Country.

As soon as I started reading this book I could not put it down. I was in stitches with Viner's witty jokes and hilarious tales and antics. I often relayed many of the book's jokes back to my partner who struggled to finish her book due to my constant interruptions.

If you like a book to make you laugh then this is a must.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gazing upon Lord Hereford's Knob, 30 Jan. 2014
By 
Mr. Joe (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
"Nobody had warned us that the countryside was full of flies, not to mention moths built like prop forwards, with big, leering faces." - from TALES OF THE COUNTRY

"Will called around with a(n) ... American wildlife photographer of considerable renown ... (who) was visiting him because he wanted Will to take him to Tupsley Quarry in Hereford, where Will knew a pond in which hundreds of frogs were frantically mating. They asked if (my son) Joseph and I wanted to go with them, which we did, of course. It was a weekday and I had work to do, but the opportunity to watch 900 bonking frogs doesn't come around all that often." - from TALES OF THE COUNTRY

TALES OF THE COUNTRY by Brian Viner follows that venerable tradition of intrepidly moving to an unfamiliar clime and then telling the rest of us stick-in-the-muds all about it. Some such accounts are better than others; in the former group, I've previously discovered: A Year in Provence, Extra Virgin: Amongst the Olive Groves of Liguria, and Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia (The Lemons Trilogy). I've never come across one about relocating to New Jersey.

As the book begins, Viner and his wife Jane are living in North London and contemplating a move to rural environs. After a false start or two, they manage to sell their city residence and relocate themselves and the kids to the hamlet of Docklow in Herefordshire to occupy a venerable old manor house within sight of Lord Hereford's Knob, a local hill.

The best feature of Viner's narrative is the humor used to describe their coping mechanisms when faced with the unique challenges of their new environment. Of course, that's pretty much theme of all publications in the genre and it's only the amount of charm in the telling that distinguishes one from another. And Brian's particular charm is the relaxed, self-effacing nature of his humor also found in a previous travel essay, Cream Teas, Traffic Jams and Sunburn: The Great British Holiday.

Since I've often day-dreamed about moving to Great Britain (and London in particular), it was surprising to learn that Viner's corner of rural, green and temperate England is infested with flies - ("cluster flies, which lay eggs in the soil and live on worms"). Really? One usually associates swarms of flies with some wretched, sun-blasted Third World refugee camp on the border of a civil war-torn country where factions are fighting over slit trench naming rights. Say it ain't so, Brian! Perhaps I should reconsider New Jersey.

By the author's own admission, there's not much happening in Docklow and its surroundings (except the bonking frogs). Therefore, since the family's purchase of the manor house (called "Docklow Grange" in the story) also included three holiday cottages, it shouldn't be surprising that much of the book deals with the management of, and the guests staying in, those cottages. Indeed, I finished TALES OF THE COUNTRY determined to vacation at the place before I age to the point of torpor. Well, at least take the first step anyway ‒ searching for it on the Web (where it can be found under "Docklow Manor"). I guess I'll have to pack a flyswatter, though.

Since my opinion of a travel essay increases proportional to the strength of the desire it compels in me to either visit or avoid the place, then TALES OF THE COUNTRY is a worthy success.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of the Country, 1 July 2010
By 
Y. Hansford - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
I haven't stopped laughing !!! From the beginning to the end it is just so funny having lived in the country all my life to see it from the other side made very good reading - I just couldn't put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales of the Country, 26 April 2011
By 
M. Sherwen (Oxford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
This was one of the most hilarious books I have ever read. Knowing the Herefordshire area it made the stories all the more interesting and I look forward to reading more books by this author.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viner's onto a winner, 14 Aug. 2005
By 
D E Walsh (Bletchingley, REDHILL United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tales of the Country (Hardcover)
This book will probably get lumped into the Peter Mayle genre but that is unfair. This is a delightfully funny book by a very funny writer that made me laugh out loud several times (which I don't do very often). Highly recommended.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Charity shop special, 9 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
Rattling on and on about how difficult the change was from city to country. Yeah, if he'd moved to Nairobi from London I could find that interesting but waffling on about mice in the house, ants in pants.- mate, you're in England. No funny 'moments' to laugh out loud to. Charity shop had my copy after reading it.

If Heat magazine give a good review, never read it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Leaving the City but not losing touch., 24 July 2013
By 
J. B. Swingler (Vale of Evesham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
There is plenty of amusement in this book about a well heeled city man and family moving into the country and naturally finding the peasants to be as sharp as the city dwellers. I would hate his lifestyle, party going and having guests all the time so not all the story appeals to me but I am sure the younger element will be delighted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious account of moving to the sticks, 1 July 2013
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This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
Brian Viner's charming and laugh-out-loud tale of his and his family's move from London to rural Herefordshire was enthusiastically reviewed by Michael Palin, among others - and now I know why. Anyone who has ever made the city-to-country move, or even contemplated it, will love this book
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Good Life ??, 3 Nov. 2008
By 
This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
I have enjoyed reading this book, and it is well written and very funny in places as the story leads you on through the Viner's family experiences.
However I must agree with another reviewer, that the constant reference to all their friends does become very tiresome.
Fortunately I do not have anywhere near this number of friends and when I achieve my goal of moving to some rural escape, the last thing I will want is hoards of friends and their kids descending on me every weekend

Never the less it is well worth reading if you shelter any desires to make the move out of a big town or city, but there are less self gratifying books on the subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You really couldn't make this up!, 23 Sept. 2014
By 
Chris Graham (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tales of the Country (Paperback)
Being familiar with the Herefordshire areas around Bromyard, Docklow, Leominster, etc, I could easily relate to the people, attitudes and situations described to perfection.
Hilarious and very likely true...
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Tales of the Country
Tales of the Country by Brian Viner (Paperback - 4 April 2005)
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