I heard Gervase Phinn speak at a teachers' conference two years ago, and I don't think I laughed so much all term. Initially skeptical - after all, although a teacher, the thought of someone's embelllished memoirs on their time as a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales doesn't exactly sound like a page-turner. Indeed, there's nothing particularly original about his approach. It's been done before for vets by James Heriot. Worse still, I think some of the stories in this volume appear elsewhere in his work. That said, Gervase Phinn has a remarkable story telling gift, weaving the most outrageous, if harmless, yarns with a fine ear for the truly hilarious things children say. Beneath it all, shines a warm humanity - and this is a book to which you'll want to turn to again and again. I bought this as a present, but read it first (sorry, Mum). It's not quite as strong as his initial Dales series (Up and Down the Dale etc) but it's still good stuff. Get one for yourself and anyone else who needs cheering up!
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