A Different Kind of Wealth
As a rather romantic young man in my early twenties, I longed for a retreat, a cabin by a lake where I could learn to understand nature and write reams of lapidary poetry. Of course this never came to pass, not least because I could no more build a habitable hut than I could fly, but the lure of the self-sustaining rural life remains strong. My dream might have been inspired by Henry Thoreau’s Walden, his account of his life in a hut by a pond which remains an icon of American literature. In fact it was a book by another, later American that really inspired me ‒ Robert Francis’s Travelling in Amherst (1986), a copy of which I discovered one day in Hay-on-Wye.