The Country Living Handbook ‘The Best of the Good Life Month by Month’ by Diana Vowles: A Book Review

I have sat down to write this blog in the beautiful spring sunshine with a cup of coffee in hand and my friends cat Pancake sunning herself at my feet. I am actually stealing myself a few moments of peace before my afternoon client list starts, definitely one of the perks of being self employed.

My journey on the way to the good life and semi self sufficiency is all well and good, but where the monkey do you start?! I figured I needed a little nudge and some help so I purchased a book with the title ‘The Country Life Handbook’ and hoped it did what it said on the tin.

The book is helpfully set out into chapters by month starting from January and so on. Each chapter is only about 4 pages or so long making it easily digestable and just enough reading to fit in with your elevensies. Whilst this book is not in depth or particularly technical it does mean it is informative without being overwhelming.

In each month the handbook explains what to expect in that month from the wildlife you might see to what is growing and what to look out for when you are out and about. I also like that there are suggested recipes and projects. For example in May there is a wonderful zabaglione recipe leading on from a section on keeping hens and in April there is a section on decorating Easter eggs using natural colourings from the garden which definitely warrants a try!

Throughout the book there are historical references and facts which I absolutely loved. Did you know that most of our native hedgerows were dug up in the second world war to make space for more crops to grow for food? And that in the 10 years prior to this book being published in 2006 there had been up to 6000 miles replaced thanks to charities such as LEAF. Britain has some amazing ancient woodlands with Kent being Englands number one county for ancient woodland (https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/englandsmostwoodedregioninventory.pdf/$FILE/englandsmostwoodedregioninventory.pdf) .

I love that this book is an easy read that you can pick up and put down when you feel like it. The inclusion of projects and recipes gives a great practical element to the handbook and is a wonderful way of trying out some new skills.

Overall I really like the book and look forward to what each new chapter has in store, it is not overwhelming or taxing and is interspersed with comical writing. A wonderful addition to my bookshelf.

The Country Living Handbook ‘The Best of the Good Life Month by Month’ by Diana Vowles is available to buy from Amazon here.

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