Thursday, 19 June 2014

Book Review and Giveaway

 
I got a very interesting email last month offering me a free copy of this book in return for an honest review of it.  As it happens the just week before I had bought myself a copy of it whilst perusing the shelves in Waterstones.  Admitting this to Jonathan who is from JJ Books, 'a small independent press in London', between us we came up with the idea of him sending me a copy anyway so I could give one away to one of my readers.
 
Their description of the book -
 
A Little Piece of England is author John Jackson’s amusing account of how he, his wife and three children built up a smallholding in a sliver of countryside in rural Kent over a decade in the sixties and seventies. Through trial and much error, the family came to make themselves self-sufficient in meat, milk, eggs, vegetables and some fruit, while learning various country crafts ‘in their spare time.’

The book features pen and ink illustrations by Val Biro, known as the creator of the Gumdrop books and for his covers for the Radio Times.

John, now 84, is an established author, lawyer, businessman and political and constitutional campaigner, as well as being a keen gardener. He is probably best known as a founder of the Countryside Alliance.

A good place to find out more about John may be his blog – such as this recent example looking at the current revival of interest in self-sufficiency: 
http://www.jjbooks.com/blog/why-self-sufficiency-now-is-as-important-as-ever

The book was first published by the Collins-Harvill Press 35 years ago as A Bucket of Nuts and A Herring Net: The Birth of a Spare-Time Farm – the title came from John’s unconventional method for rounding up sheep.
 
 
So how did I find it .... well it is very well written and very concise.
 
 I think I can always tell the difference in a 'lifestyle' book when it is written by a man rather than a woman, somehow there is less of the minutia of day to day life and more facts and accounts of things as they happened.  More specifics and less emotion is how I guess I would describe it, so in this way it is a really good read if you are starting out on a small holding or on the road to self sufficiency.  But saying all that, it is a very good read for most people and one that I would recommend especially to anyone who has a self sufficiency lust or who just loves reading about other peoples struggles with animals.
 
Reading about how he had to chase his escaping sheep over other peoples land brought back memories of chasing our Large Black pigs as they headed for the M40 when we lived in Oxfordshire.  Sometimes learning the hard way is the best way to learn.  Now we know how to settle pigs behind an electric strand!!
 
So if you fancy having a copy of this book to add to your bookshelf please leave a comment below. 
 
 The Giveaway is open to all Followers and long time readers of my Blog as my way of saying Thank You for taking the time to read about our day to day adventures, you being there to confess all our mishaps to and to share the times when we do actually get something right makes it somehow much more rewarding.
 
I'm now vanishing for four whole days, a day that I'm spending with Mum and her friends down the road in Llandudno, a day being spent with my younger son, just shopping and catching up, a day being spent car booting our excess clutter .... and a whole day of working on the hillside with my Lovely Hubby, so you will have plenty of time to add your name to the comments and give yourself a chance to win this lovely book.
 
For any of you that can't wait that long I will put a link to the Amazon page so you can purchase a copy for yourself.
 
I'll be back on Monday with the winner of the Giveaway. 
Good Luck.

(Oh and I'm willing to post to anywhere in the world.)
 
Sue xx 

62 comments:

  1. I love these sort of books..i find them honest and refreshing..have a lovely time away..
    sara,fern,iris

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  2. You are so kind Sue, to offer such a beautiful book to your readers. We lived in several areas of England before moving back up to Scotland, and I miss visiting some of the places we went to. We once put an offer in on a property in the Cotswolds with a view to growing our own fruit and veg, possible having a few chickens etc but unfortunately, it fell through. I still hope and dream to become partly self sufficient one day. Have a lovely few days away. We're planning a camping trip soon and I can't wait. Now that we are debt free, we can have a little holiday this year x

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    1. If you're heading in our direction you are very welcome to visit, just give me a little bit of warning :-)

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    2. That is so very kind of you Sue and I would love to meet you, but this year we're camping in Scotland. Hopefully, one day we will meet up. Remember I told you about the wild red deer we stroked? Well, I asked a neighbour who worked in forestry all his life and he said every red deer he saw disappeared very quickly. He thinks that the deer we met had very probably been hand reared then released into the wild x

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  3. I've always enjoyed this sort of book and have a small collection. I get taken back to reading the Derek Tangye books, when I wished I lived anywhere BUT the edge of a big city and could "get back to the land". I did it in the end though!

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  4. I'd love to have this book to read, and I also have the perfect person that I can pass it on to when I've finished it. :) I do like to be able to recycle things

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  5. I'd love this book, Sue. Now we are in our forever home, we are trying to become as self sufficient as possible with veggies and fruit, we will have hens in due course (we are getting there, we have the coop and a partly-constructed run). Reading about how others do it is always an inspiration, giving us tips and ideas and reassuring us we're not the only ones to make mistakes! Have a lovely few days, Sue, and I hope you get lots more done with LH.

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  6. Very kind of you to offer the book Sue, instead of selling it! Whilst I would love to read it, living in France means higher postage, and I feel we're about as self-sufficient as we can be, so I'll pass on being included. I might click on the link though...

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    1. I've just added a bit to the post, as I'm more than happy to post to anywhere in the world, so if you change your mind .......

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  7. Enjoy your next few days Sue x

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  8. Hi Sue, I have just got into reading again I use to read all the time, but the last few years have been manic, I started building up a collection of reading books this year, and started reading again now I have a bit more me time, your book would suit me as it is sounds so simple and down to earth, we are in a farmhouse in north Wales on holiday for two weeks, off to Conwy today, we have decided that our forever home will probably be somewhere in Wales , it is so beautiful, caught the train up to Snowdon ,the views where gorgeous, xx

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    1. Have a wonderful day in Conwy, I will be just up the coast in Llandudno for the day. I see Conwy Castle across the water on my drive along the road every time I go into Llandudno to walk the dogs. If you have time for a coffee next week you're more than welcome to call. We are just about five minutes further along the road from Bodnant Welsh Foods. Email me to get in touch, my email address is right at the bottom of the righthand column :-)

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    2. Thanks Sue , we nearly went to the bodant foods, we also went to Llandudno today, thank you for your offer we would have loved to have come and seen you, after reading your blog I feel like you are a friend, it is our last day tomorrow and then we have to leave for south Wales, thank you so much for asking anyway, maybe when we move to Wales which will be in just under two years we could do it then, thank you, xx

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  9. I'd love to have a read! I used to live in a large vicarage with a large garden in which I grew quite a lot but I live alone (except for two years when I also cared for my mum) and I had a very busy job so by the standards of many of your readers I "wasted" the opportunities which the country lifestyle gave me. Them, because of increasing disability I had to move to a small bungalow in a very small market town where I stil manage to grow vegetables but have to face the fact that disability may eventually make that too difficult as well. So all I can do is dream of what might (but never could) be!

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    1. We all waste opportunities at times, but the main thing is you're giving it a go whilst you are still able to do so and this is very admirable. xx

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  10. I still occasionally get out John Seymours' book about self-sufficency and dream but, not on such a big scale!
    So, this is the sort of book that would be well-thumbed and close to hand.
    Going over to the blog next.......

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  11. This is the kind of book that I love to read. I've been down this path and thoroughly enjoyed it, making jams, preserves etc when we had our 2 allotments. Sadly we are a lot older now and everything is on a smaller scale but I can still read obout it and enjoy the memories so please consider me for the giveaway.
    Briony
    x

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  12. What a lovely idea - thank you. Oh, to be back in the UK - I get terribly homesick now and then. Yes, please - add my name to the entries :)

    And, if you'd like to win some piquante pepper seeds, please enter the give away on my blog :)

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  13. I've been reading a few of these type of smallholding memoirs recently but most of the ones I've come across have been US-based so it'll be nice to add something a bit closer to home to the list of must-read-soon. Just had a quick look at the blog post you linked to as well and not even halfway through he articulates almost exactly my own philosophy - I think I may need to spend some time reading the rest of his blog posts now. Perfect for the bank holiday we're having today.
    "I have always believed that self-sufficiency is about much more than producing your own food. It’s a matter of philosophy as well as economy. It is about an attitude of mind which leads to a liking for personal independence and self-reliance."

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  14. And, PS - thanks for the link to JJ's blog :)

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  15. This book seems very similar to a book i read recently called Living the Good Life by Linda Cockburn. Her adventure with spending NO money for six months and living off what she could produce on a normal Queensland block and was a laugh a minute. That book is now being passed from blogger to blogger and i hope that it gives them as much enjoyment as I. I would love to read this book of John's adventures and thanks for the link to the blog. I think he has a new fan.

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  16. I would love to have a smallholding, unfortunately it is very unlikely to happen. I love reading your blog. Enjoy your few days break from your blog.

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  17. This sounds like a book I'd enjoy reading so I'd love my name to be added to the draw please. I was going to say enjoy your break, but I don't think it's going to be a break if you're working on the hillside, but you'll enjoy spending the time with your lovely hubby anyway, and the rest of your time away sounds like it's going to be fun catching up with family.

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  18. Sounds like an interesting read. It was after reading your blog about Hovel In The Hills by Elizabeth West that I bought a copy from Amazon. I really enjoyed it. Enjoy your break xx

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  19. I would love to have this book, all I can do now is read about the people who have been sucessful, my dreams of 'livibg off a little land' are long gone,

    Please put me in the hat!!

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  20. I would love to win a copy of this book; it is our dream to move to France and be partially self-sufficient. Thank you for your interesting and informative blog. X

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  21. Your blog is inspirational - lovely to read! I love the illustrations in that book!

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  22. I get really annoyed when publishers bring out a book with a brand new title as if it's a new book. I read this donkeys years ago when it was called A bucket of nuts and a herring net!

    Don't put me in the draw as I've read it already. Hope whoever wins it enjoys it.

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  23. Hi I've only recently discovered your blog and think it's great, thank you. The book your giving away sounds interesting and I would love to be considered for it. We aren't self sufficient, far from it. We are in fact just at the start of the process of trying to deal with large debts and are trying to lead a simpler less consumer driven life. Living on a small holding is currently just a pipe dream, but that's ok because dreams are what keeps us motivated. I always find reading about other people's endeavours inspiring. I hope you have a lovely few days away.

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  24. Well we most definitely have got the self -sufficiency bug. I'm off to a local farm next week to meet some coloured Ryeland sheep and to hopefully buy some fleece from the owner. I want to see what is really involved with keeping livestock like sheep, so we know what type of property we will need when we move to our forever home.

    Jean x

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  25. I'd love to enter the draw, please. It certainly looks like an interesting book, and I'm sure my hubby would love to read it.

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  26. Sounds like a book right up my street! I'd like to enter the draw please.

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  27. What a fab looking book, enter me into the draw please. Hope you have a great few days.

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  28. I would love to read this book. I have read many books about people in the US changing their lives and living a new life with less big city stress. I fancy myself one day living on a fixed income and making ends meet. Thanks for the interesting blog.

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  29. Enjoy your break, and avoid The Grand, or the not do grand as we called it last year. Please enter me into your giveaway, the book sounds very interesting.

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  30. This looks like a book I would really enjoy reading! :) Thank you for the chance to win and read it!
    heatheranne99@gmail.com

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  31. Aaannd several hours later I remember that I also wanted to comment on the fact that it sometimes shocks me to read books and magazines from the sixties and seventies, expressing all of the same things which I have read so much of since I first started looking properly into the simple/gentle life and finding so much stuff on the internet about it nearly ten years ago. The desire to get back to the land, growing sense that we're on the wrong path somehow, complaints about the way the industrial food system was taking over. It's sobering to think even before I was born, people had started to try to change things and yet here we still are. I've very grateful for the internet for at least helping me to find other people who are still trying!

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  32. Oh that sounds interesting! I would love to try my luck for this book!

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  33. As a smallholderwannabe, I love reading about other people's experiences. Please count me in - thank you

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  34. I'd also like to read this book, as at present I can only dream of a small holding from our small rented house with patio garden.

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  35. How can I resist entering your giveaway after that description!
    I think you and hubby could write your own book of tales, maybe you should think it over. I'd definitely buy it.
    X x x

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  36. Hi Sue, would love to read this book, most of my books now come from reading blogs and also ones that people have as their headers. My husband thinks I am heading towards becoming an expert, if ever things went completely wrong, I would have a book on how to sort it all ;-) Lynda

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  37. This would be a wonderful read Sue. Love your blog.

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  38. This book sounds very interesting. Love the blog

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  39. Hi, I love books like this and would love to add this to my collection

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  40. I would love to read this book. I spend far too much time reading blogs that are similar to yours and just loving them. One of my mistakes is reading all the comments and clicking on other blogs and then it's never ending and before I know it several hours have gone by and I'm still sitting in my pj's drinking coffee. Oh well, this is what retirement is all about!!!

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  41. Smallholder here of many years standing. I still love to read about other smallholders and am firmly of the opinion that nobody knows it all and there is till much to learn. Thanks for the link to J Jackson's blog. Going over there now.
    Gill

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  42. Very small here only 1/2 acre but trying to be as self sufficient as possible in our twilight years!
    Love reading about others, that is why I love your blog. Grovel,grovel!!!

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  43. oooh sounds perfect! In need of some inspiration & a little i feel. It has been over a year since moving and the veg patch is underway! Just need some ideas where to go next!
    emma
    @emmav6

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  44. This book sounds great. I don't think I will ever have my own farm but can live vicariously through you.I just recently finished reading "The Dirty Life" and loved it. You can follow the author on her blog Essex Farm.
    Sandy Downs

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  45. Thank you and JJ Books so much for offering this. I'd love to give it a read. Then I can pay it forwards to a couple friends that have just got their first 2 chickens! Have a lovely few days away - you've certainly earnt it. :-)

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  46. I'd like to throw my name in the hat for the book, it sounds like a perfect introduction. I'll be getting my own place this year and want to be as self-sufficient as possible! I hope you have a lovely time visiting your family :)

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  47. I would love to be considered please Sue.

    Donna

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  48. Please add my name to your list of enthusiastic wishful thinkers. While my family left England in 1957 and I now live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, my heart and soul and GARDEN are still British. If I read here that I'm the lucky "selectee" I'll happily email my full name and address. I don't yet know how to "do" those profile things. Elaine near Philadelphia.

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  49. I would like to throw my name in that hat as well Sue -- thanks for opening it up to the whole world!

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  50. I would love to be entered into the give away it sounds like my kind of book :-)

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  51. Enjoy your family time, Sue :o) (And yeah, pop my name in the hat, too) xx

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  52. I hope you have had an enjoyable weekend Sue. I would love to read the book even though I am probably past being able to embrace the lifestyle but its good to dream.

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  53. Looks like a really useful book.

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  54. Looks like a really useful book.

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  55. Ooo pop my name in the hat please it looks like a lovely book. Hope you enjoy the break :)

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  56. Please enter me in the draw. I'm never likely to live a self-sufficient lifestyle but I love reading about those who do

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Thank you for the comments you leave, it's always nice to hear from you ..... unless you are a troll or a spammer in that case ... bugger off ;-)