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A Book Of Old Lore
on 5 October 2011
The book is a lovely size to hold and is a hardback with an attractive paper cover.
I can't quite decide who this book is best aimed at. It's one of those books you dip in and out of really,as it lacks enough breadth and detail to be a reference book. I kept thinking it actually would be a great book for children, but it is clearly written for adults.
The explanation for some of the sayings seem a bit obvious, or maybe that's my generation? I think we were taught this kind of thing at school, and also we had those wonderful Ladybird books that were easy to read alone. Having said that some of the examples do have a lot of detail and delve back into history to when the sayings were first recorded. I have learned some interesting details from this book. eg "Red Sky At Night" goes back to the fourteenth century where it appears in John Wycliffe"s Bible.. Also that the reason for the red sky at night and red sky in the morning is given here: redness is seen in the sky opposite the sun when light rays hit water droplets in the atmosphere! Useful for knowing whether or not to bring in the sheep.
Many sayings are in fact attempts at long term weather predictions which must have been invaluable for the farmers, did they work I wonder?
A personal favourite is: n'er cast a clout til May is out...... I've been told that a clout is/was specifically a vest,(in the book it says a winter layer of clothing but I like the exactness of vest) and have found this a useful guide, anyone with me on this? :-)
The book has beautiful illustrations that are little engravings by Thomas Bewick, the leading wood engraver of his day. 18th century.
Its not a book I would ever buy for myself, but would make a good gift.
and I think a children's edition would be a great idea.