I hope you will all cut me a little bit of slack: I’m shockingly behind with, well, everything at the moment. There’s 1000s of emails which I need to read, reply to & file and I have two outstanding sets of giveaway recipients to announce.
First off was the copy of Jasper Conran & Andrew Montgomery’s ravishing book Country. There were some brilliant comments, and it was very hard to choose a recipient. So many glorious evocations of place, so many extraordinary writers amongst you. (Do go & read the comments – they are inspiring. I am very lucky to have such wonderful readers.)
I am giving the book to Khatija, who reminded me that it can be very easy to take untrammelled access to the English countryside for granted. She wrote:
“Without a doubt, Dartmoor. There’s just something about its harsh barrenness that amplifies its raw beauty. I love being able to see for miles, walk in the footsteps of giants, be soaked to the bone but totally at peace all at once; it was also my first experience of the English countryside.
“You are soaked in cold rain/Like a pelt in tanning liquour.” When I first read these lines in English class as a young teenager, I felt I instantly recognised the feeling – it was very much like waiting for a bus on those awkward stops where there’s no bus shelter and you’ve been caught in a downpour. Then, “The moors swollen waterbelly/Sags and quivers…” and suddenly poetry was a foreign land once again, just as the English countryside was to me.
I think part of that is where I was born – Hackney, East London – to parents whose only experience of the English countryside had left a dark shadow: a racist haven, distinctly unfriendly with poor vegetarian food options. But the poets said differently: Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney and Coleridge were amongst my favourites. It was in their shadow that I first took out my OS map, compass and printed instructions to Hughes’ memorial stone in the middle of Dartmoor. I did it alone, somehow I needed to, and I’ve never looked back since.”
Form, function..available to all.. Duallit toaster.. Classic and makes the best toast. Cup of Clipper tea and you’re sorted.
Olivetti ‘Valentine’ typewriter.
Girls – can you email me at libertylondongirl [at] gmail.com to claim your copies?
Image: Andrew Montgomery from Country