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Pigs in Clover: Or How I Accidentally Fell in Love with the Good Life Paperback – 2 Apr 2015
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James Herriot's 'All Creatures Great and Small' meets Stuart Maconie - funny, from the heart and utterly wonderful from start to finish. (Jenny Selway Daily Express)
Simon Dawson's books should come with "scratch and sniff" pages containing the aroma of the Devon countryside at every turn... A witty, revealing heart-warming and honest account of his triumphs and travails. (Devon Life)
Enchanting (Daily Mail)
One of the most amusing writers I know (Country Smallholding magazine)
It made me laugh and it made me think. I highly recommend it...it's a ten from Len! (Len Goodman)
The true (and funny) story of one couple's adventurous move from city life to running a smallholding surrounded by animals in the Devonshire countryside.See all Product description
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This book is absorbing, intelligent, witty and very engaging. I laughed out loud and swallowed back tears, giggled and sniffled, I might have even snorted once ;) Simon gives you a very intimate glimpse into those years as he and his wife changed their lives completely, leaving London and relocating to their small holding.
I was totally hooked and by the end of the book, I felt like I knew them both so well and really understood the changes and hardship they had been through.
A wonderfully brilliant book, that I couldn't put down
I particularly like the willingness of this book to discuss and embrace the negatives: that money is very hard to come by, that animals are not always cuddly creatures but kill each other apparently on a whim, that outdoor manual work can be dangerous, that people living this kind of life can become exhausted beyond all reason.
If you've read the book - I've been holidaying at Stef's riding establishment for 24 years, so remember Debbie and Simon very well, used to hand feed the orphaned lambs and collected eggs from the chickens when they were at Stef's. I can relate to the book very well and Simon describes the area and situations with much accuracy and hilarity.
I am sure electrocuting your testicals isn't funny, but it did have me rolling around crying with laughter... as it did Debbie. Obviously, owning so many farm animals, does have it's downsides and very sad times, which Simon doesn't leave out. I'm glad he doesn't leave those parts out, it's all part of the reality in farm life and the book wouldn't be right without it.
I didn't find anything I disliked about the book at all. I would recommend it to anyone and really hope Simon is writing a continuation. This really is an excellent book, just buy it !
If you read it chapter by chapter, as I did the second time I read it, you quickly realise that this is not a book, it is more a series of conversations, the kind that you have with a friend, over the course of several years, preferably in a pub over a pint or two. Of course, much of the time it would be your round, but that is part of the struggle of starting a smallholding, beer is often a luxury for those involved (we won't mention the dandelion wine...).
The book is a frank and intimate telling of two people turning their lives upside down and inside out, on an almost spontaneous rejection of all that they previously held dear; like safe jobs, regular salaries, work and even family.
Simon and Debbie landed up in Devon with a dream, or rather two dreams, Simon's of a three - days - in - the - country - four - days - in - London kind of existence, with Debbie throwing herself headlong into country life with abandon. With such differing views it is inevitable (to the reader) that something is going to have to give. I won't spoil things by telling you what happens, Simon does that better than I ever could, but the story is played out almost in real time, the details are all there; the great, the good, the heart-warming and the scary, and the bits that a lesser man would have "forgotten" to mention.
You have to admire Simon's honesty, he could so easily have written a whitewashed, sanitised, version of events, but instead chose to tell the story as it happened, with full descriptions of the emotional turmoil he went through before reaching his conclusions.
Like I said above, I've read a few books with this theme, I'll do you a favour and tell you that this is the one that you should buy.
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and would award it 10/10