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A Countryman’s Autumn Notebook
  • ISBN: 9781910898918
  • Pages: 224
  • Dimensions: 170 x 110 mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: 15 September 2024
  • Producer: Henry Ling
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Silk ribbon, head- & tailband
  • Introduction: Richard Hawking
  • Illustrated by: Beth Knight

A Countryman’s Autumn Notebook - Release date: 15 September 2024

Adrian Bell

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This final Autumn selection from Adrian Bell’s weekly essays, written between 1950 and 1980 for his local newspaper the Eastern Daily Press, completes our seasonal quartet. ‘You can stand in the windless calm of an autumn evening and hear the heartbeat of the countryside,’ Bell writes, and it’s that steady, persistent, unchanging heartbeat that we can hear in these beautifully observed little pieces.  

In the last decades of Bell’s life, when he produced his weekly Notebook, he recorded with a farmer’s keen eye the many changes that were taking place around him, but his writing, though poetic, is not nostalgic or sentimental. He is not simply lamenting what has disappeared from rural life but considering what can be learnt from the process. He saw that farming was gradually being reduced to running a ‘factory with the roof off’ and wrote passionately of the need to farm for the long-term benefit of the land – a call that seems even more pressing today.  

‘I now have care of this soil which former men have cherished,’ he wrote. ‘I feel such a compulsion to it: it is the most important thing in life to me.’ These little essays which so vividly evoke the arrival of autumn, are both a breath of fresh Suffolk air, and a call to look around us at the countryside and do things differently. 


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