The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A major new talent redefines the literature of rural life.
Old world met new when a shepherd in the English Lake District impulsively started a Twitter account. A routine cell phone upgrade left author James Rebanks with a pretty decent camera and a pre-loaded Twitter app--the tools to share his way of life with the world. And what began as a tentative experiment became an international phenomenon.
James has worked the land for years, as did his father, and his father before him. His family has lived and farmed in the Lake District of Northern England as long as there have been written records (since 1420) and possibly much longer. And while the land itself has inspired great poets and authors we have rarely heard from the people who tend it. One Twitter account has changed all that, and now James Rebanks has broken free of the 140-character limit and produced "the book I have wanted to write my whole life.""The Shepherd's Life "is a memoir about growing up amidst a magical, storied landscape, of coming of age in the 1980s and 1990s among hills that seem timeless, and yet suffused with history. Broken into the four seasons, the book chronicles the author's daily experiences at work with his flock and brings alive his family and their ancient way of life, which at times can seem irreconcilable with the modern world.
An astonishing original work, "The Shepherd's Life" is an intimate look from inside a seemingly ordinary life, one that celebrates the meaning of place, the ties of family to the land around them, and the beauty of the past. It is the untold story of the Lake District, of a people who exist and endure out of sight in the midst of the most iconic literary landscape in the world.
"From the Hardcover edition.""
character. T. G. was a tenant farmer on the Inglewood Estate. He bought Irish cattle and met them in the little harbour at Silloth with his men. He’d have wagons loaded with troughs for feeding them on the journey back to the farm. He also bought flocks of geese off those boats, and tarred and gritted their feet so they could be walked home. They walked these animals back, taking a couple of days or more, sleeping at nights by the roadsides. He fattened the cattle and geese on his pastures and
needed on the farm, so I’d stay behind. They’d often pitch in to help with the seasonal work. I was the farm cousin that showed them stuff, frogs in a wall, nests of birds I’d found, or how to do farming things like put a wall back up. Dad and Granddad were a little more detached. They didn’t have much time for ‘messing about’. Maybe once or twice a summer we’d trek up a mountain, with me not quite ever having the right fell-walking gear (usually clad in T-shirt and trainers or farm boots). We’d
which we got our friend George the joiner to come and put up new book shelves. At eighteen years old, for the first time, I could slog it out with my dad at much of the physical work. We travelled to my grandfather’s farm (which was now our farm, but without a house) to do the work each day. We were bringing hay bales on a trailer from the field in the valley bottom to the barn. The work was simple, but tough. He parked the tractor and trailer next to the heaps of bales (each one holding
thorn dykes. The little becks that fall off the fells through our land can mostly be covered by a man’s stride. They fall, wriggling through the rocks, down the rocky hillsides, little more than a trickle at first, but soon becoming frothing white ribbons in a few hundred metres, connecting us to the Irish Sea and the Atlantic. My grandfather always waited for the spates of late November or December because he knew what it would bring. A harvest. Salmon. Sea trout. He used to walk the becks
farms, flocks and families. My old man can hardly spell common words, but has an encyclopaedic knowledge of landscape. I think it makes a mockery of conventional ideas about who is and isn’t ‘intelligent’. Some of the smartest people I have ever known are semi-literate. If my grandfather could find out where someone farmed, the breeds of livestock they kept, and which auction mart they frequented, he could quickly find common ground with any farmer in the north of England, or even in the rest of