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102 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful lady and a wonderful documentary
"Too Long a Winter" is a bleak but beautiful depiction of the lives of hill farmers in Yorkshire in the unremittingly harsh winter. The opening aerial views of the snowbound Dales accompanied by Vaughan William's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis are a work of art. The grandeur of the country is captured perfectly. In parts the camera work is reminiscent of the...
Published on 11 Feb 2009 by Parkie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Baldersdale's finest!
The first CD was fascinating, expecially when focussing on Hannah's day to day life and her struggle to survive in such an harsh environment.
The second CD was an interesting concept to take Hannah to European countries, however the film came across has very dated. A repetitive introduction was not needed. Although I am interested in social history I didn't think the...
Published 20 months ago by kathryn nuttall


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102 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful lady and a wonderful documentary, 11 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
"Too Long a Winter" is a bleak but beautiful depiction of the lives of hill farmers in Yorkshire in the unremittingly harsh winter. The opening aerial views of the snowbound Dales accompanied by Vaughan William's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis are a work of art. The grandeur of the country is captured perfectly. In parts the camera work is reminiscent of the flying scenes from "The Snowman" until we are brought sharply to reality as the camera focuses on a shepherd battling the gale just to stay standing. We are then brought into his world, just about making a living in this forbidding wilderness, desperately searching for and rescuing his precious sheep from drifts that have buried them over their heads.

The star of the documentary is the wonderful Hannah Hauxwell, who became one of the most unusual celebrities ever as a result of these documentaries. Her hard lifestyle was astonishing to the people of 70s Britain, watching her on their newly acquired colour televisions in centrally heated rooms protected from the elements by their brand new double glazing.

Hannah Hauxwell spent 59 years living on a remote hill farm in the Dales, without running water or electricity, and for the last couple of decades, completely alone. She was the last member of a family which had lived and farmed there for four generations. Her family were the only one to have lived in the stone built house. She raised cattle, in as much as she had one milking cow, and each year raised a calf from her, the sale of which would provide the bulk of Hannah's income for the year. Her brief moments away from the back breaking toil showed Hannah to be a cultured lady, expertly playing her late mother's harmonium.

When her story was broadcast as part of "Too long a Winter" the British public took her to their hearts. She travelled away from her beloved Dales for the first time to attend a "Woman of the Year" lunch, and received gifts and money from well-wishers. Instead of looking after her material needs she invested the money in more cattle, indomitably putting the farm before her own comfort.

We next saw Hannah 16 years later, still fetching water from the stream, but now with mains electricity. She was facing up to yet another harsh winter, the season she dreaded. She is seen carrying a bundle of silage almost as large as herself up the hill to feed the cattle. When the stream freezes solid we find her wearily hauling buckets of water up from the reservoir. "You don't realise how much they drink till you have to do this" she says. But even here, she has a cheerful quality that shines through her hardship. At all times she has a gentle grace about her that has the viewer rooting for her all the way.

Hannah speaks in her soft, gentle voice with moving and poetic sincerity about her feelings for the place, and it is easy to understand why she put up with the unforgiving winters for so long. In her own words she existed in Winter and lived in Summer. This bare existence includes her relating how one winter the electricity failed and her only warm drink was milk straight from her best cow. She even had to sleep in the next stall to this cow for warmth. It therefore comes as a relief when she decides that she has endured "A Winter Too Many" and move to a nearby village. It is heartwarming to see her reaction to the cottage that would become her home. To her the small, cosy building is the height of luxury. And the sale of the farm ensures her a secure future. Even so there is a deep sense of sadness as she first lets go of her cherished cattle, then of her possessions and finally of the only home she has ever known.

This is also a reminder of how documentaries used to be made. No recaps of what we've just seen, no teasers as to what's coming next, just good solid story telling. A perfect choice for anyone interested in social history, the countryside, television hsitory, or wanting to see the story of a remarkable and inspiring lady.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful!, 17 Nov 2008
By 
Freespirit "bo3ss" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
These 2 videos depict an extremely moving story about a wonderful lady who single handedly runs Birk Hatt Farm in an isolated area of Teesdale. She is dignified, gentle. her animals are her priority and she has gone without herself to ensure that her cow is fed. This will move you to tears and transport you back to a bygone age of manners, politeness and England how it used to be.
SImply wonderful
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hannah extra-ordinary Lady, 15 April 2008
This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
We first watched this programme on tv, all those years ago, and sat in awe at this lady's life. So pleased to know we could buy the dvd, again we have sat and watched with the same feelings of admiration.
If there is to be a critisism, would have been nice to watch all the way through as one story rather than the tv breaks as that was like a 'copy' of original series.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars makes humble viewing, 16 April 2009
By 
Aidan Mcatamney (kilrea co.derry,n.ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
this is a great piece of film charting the lifestory of an extraordinary woman. miss hannah hauxwell gives us an insight into the hardships she endured as a middle aged woman living on an isolated farm on her own. a wonderful lady and always managing to smile she lets us see what harsh winters can really be like trying to get by on very little each and every day. its a film you will never get tired of viewing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Inspirational, 13 Mar 2009
This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
The DVD title says it all. A remarkable series of programmes about a truly inspirational person. The first DVD containing two documentaries is the real gem but the second containing six shorter programmes is well worth a watch. Forget the Credit Crunch.....Hannah Hauxwell is a shining example of the fact that money isn't the be all and end all of life.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A star, 21 Aug 2008
This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
This woman is a star. I first saw these in the 70's. She looked old then. Therefore I was amazed that she is still alive. They are so watchable because she really is a star. A lot of actors would pay to have what she has. You just watch her all the time. I just hope she has earned some money out of it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life, 15 Jun 2009
This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
Hannah certainly did have an extraordinary life! She is a truly amazing woman - this is a must see DVD collection - I ordered it for my mum and couldn't wait to watch it myself!! An inspiring and heartwarming story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Pleased, 2 May 2011
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This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
I was pleased to recieve the Hannah Hauxwell Dvd it was excellent value for money and it arrived very promptly, I would recommend it to any one, thanks again F E Knight
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hannah, 9 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
This is an old dvd l have been looking for.It brought back memories of watching this the first time round.What a lovely lady and she should be an example to us,as to how very fortunate we are.So glad she found happiness.Worth watching.Thank you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVELY HANNAH, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] (DVD)
ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO MY AUNT GIVE ME AND MY MUM THE SECOND ONE ABOUT HANNAH TO WATCH WHICH WE LOVED BUT ALWAYS WONDERED HOW SHE GOT ON AFTER SHE MOVED TO THE VILLAGE.
AT THE TIME WE FORGOT HER SECOND NAME THEN I MEET FRIENDS FROM YORKSHIRE WHO TOLD ME IT SO MY MUM GOT ME TO GOOGLE IT AND THERE WE FOUND HANNAH HAD WENT TO EUROPE AND USA.
STRAIGHT AWAY I WENT ON TO AMAZON TO FIND THIS WONDERFUL DVD ABOUT A LOVELY LADY WHO IS A GEM.
THIS DVD WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH AND CRY ASWELL AS BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU DO HAVE.
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Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD]
Hannah Hauxwell - An Extraordinary Life [DVD] by Hannah Hauxwell (DVD - 2008)
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