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A Place In My Country: In Search Of The Rural Dream

Ian Walthew

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction, Places & peoples: general & pictorial works

A couple cherish the notion of a new life in the Cotswolds - but have their eyes opened to the realities of modern rural life.

Chasing memories of the losses of his brother and father, the author, a young newspaper director, and his Australian wife visit the Cotswolds. On a whim they buy a cottage and Ian resigns. They slowly get to know Norman, their inscrutable and apparently terrifying neighbour; Geoff, the ebullient landlord of their eclectic local - last bastion against the encroaching gastropub - and Tom, an ex-gamekeeper, who lets Ian see something of a hidden rural culture. The delightful aspects of village life and an ever-changing landscape is evocatively captured; but it is from working with Norman on his small chaotic farm that they learn about the loss of the countryside to industrial farming and of no-longer affordable housing to the dreaded 'white settlers'. And it is shadows of the past and a seemingly segregated social world around them that begin to cast doubts on whether this is the place for them. This is a gentle lesson in taking time to confront our losses, memories and prejudices to discover a revitalised life in our own country.

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Ian Walthew

Ian Walthew left school aged eighteen and spent six months walking across Spain, living as a tramp and following in the footsteps of the Cotswold writer Laurie Lee who wrote about his pre-civil war journey in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. Ian eventually fell into the newspaper industry and ended his media career as worldwide Marketing Director on the executive board of the Paris-based newspaper The International Herald Tribune. After nearly a decade living and working abroad in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris and travelling the world he was thirty-four when he unexpectedly resigned and moved with his Australian wife Hannah to the Cotswolds.

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