Author: Peter Maughan

Publisher: The Cluny Press


                                       Feel-Good Seventies Inspired Humor

The seventies, as far as I remember was a time of taking stock. Not so much going on after the turbulent sixties, with the sexual revolution, beatniks, peace demonstrations and rock music. A time when many people still looked to Nature for solutions to their problems. A time when air pollution had not reached the drastic levels it has today and Life flowed with a gentle, serene rhythm all its own. It was not unusual to not have a telephone at home, and people felt comfortable dropping into friends’ and neighbours’ homes without prior intimation to discuss the events of the day..

This book zooms in on one closely knit community of houseboat dwellers, living on the border between England and Wales, in a place called Batch Magna. Not much happens in these parts of the world, yet the residents wish to stay there and maintain their lifestyle of living close to Nature. But this choice is endangered, as the squire who owns the property they live on, passes on. The succession is entailed, it passes on to a nephew of the old squire who lives in New York. Word comes around that the new owner would sell most of the estate and build a holiday village there and the houseboat owners would have to find alternative accommodation. This naturally sets alarm bells going and the community builds up a wall of hostility against the incumbent mercenary, as that is how they perceive him. What transpires after the new squire’s arrival and the navigation to the proverbial happy ending is the subject of this book.

The book has been exquisitely written. It reveals an intimate connection with Nature. The sights described, the sounds, the feel of the wind and the tricks that the latter can play when the sun shines, all combined with an unerringly accurate understanding of the Anglo- Welsh psyche, form an outstandingly evocative  and sometimes rib -ticklingly funny gem of a composition in the tradition of “Three men in a boat” and “The wind in the willows” as has been mentioned by a number of other reviewers. I personally could not stop myself breaking into guffaws of laughter. However, this style of writing may not appeal to the young of today, those who are impatient for change, be it legitimate or otherwise, disconnected from Nature’s rhythms and accustomed to 1-click ordering for whatever it is they desire.

This book has been written by one who lives close to the land and expresses his love for the Anglo-Welsh countryside in this book. If these attributes speak to you, read this book. You will not regret your time  investment.

Warmly recommended.