|Book:||'Four Hedges' by Clare Leighton|
|X pages ; X wood engraving illustrations by Clare Leighton|
|This Edition Published By:||Little Toller Books (paperback, 2010)|
|Originally Published By:||Victor Gollancz (1935)|
|ISBN:||978-0-9562545-3-5 / 9780956254535|
I suppose that I have a few tenuous connections with Clare Leighton & her book 'Four Hedges'. Firstly, the book is about her garden in Monks Risborough, 12 miles from where I live, and secondly that it was written about the year our house was built and we struggle with the 'cement foundation' like soil she refers to (see below). And I supposed because I'd love to redo our garden like she describes here, but for us, time does not currently permit. But it inspires me, and makes me dream.
Clare Leighton's book starts in April and living only 12 miles away, in the Chilterns, I sympathise with her opening paragraph:
Subtitue chalk for clay and flint soil and this pretty well sums us up. When, a few years ago, I dug the foundations for my studio I thought 'This will be easy'. But it wasn't. Not one bit. Just below that fresh, good looking soil was clay and flint - hard as rock - and Clare Leighton's description 'Dig into it just one spit, and you reach, as it were, a solid cement foundation.' is just perfect - if not rather frustratingly perfect! She, I imagine, struggled, and so did I. I got those foundations ready only 4 hours before the builders arrived to construct the studio - and I'd given myself months of time. And years later we still have a mound of earth to shift. I don't like working to tight deadlines like that.
And I love her description of traditional crafts, and people, their laugauge and sayings. And who wouldn't, it takes us back 85 years into another world - few tractors, few modern cultivation methods, different priorities.
Take this wonderfully simple observation, for example:.
The book ends in fact with the start - showing us that the seasons carry on regardless in it's yearly cycle:
This book is very well worth reading and would recommend it if you like gardening, crafts, history or wood engraving. There are other books by Clare Leighton that I'd like to read to ... one day.
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