Through the Seasons
There is something for everyone in The Countryman. Whether you are a country dweller, an urban nature lover, an amateur historian, or a budding naturalist, the variety of subjects covered is a real treasure trove.
From the toad to the bumblebee, the cuckoo to the pheasant, the life cycle of the dragonfly, the attractions of the nightjar and the dove, the development of sheep breeds and the value of the cottager’s pig – these are just some of the characters of the natural world as described by Johnny Scott.
What are the origins of Oak Apple Day and when and where is it still celebrated? What do you know about Morecambe Bay shrimps or gulls’ eggs – how do they make the journey from harvest to plate? What is a hag stone and what is its connection to a horse brass? Do you know what marl is and where would you find it? Answers to these questions and so many others are to be found within these pages.
The author’s acute powers of observation and fluent style enable him to convey his lifelong experiences and knowledge of the natural world in an informative but accessible way. His understanding of the origins of country customs and celebratory festivals is extensive, and his affection for them and all that the countryside has to offer shines through. Be prepared to be enlightened, amazed or amused – or probably all three!
Reviews for The Countryman
Forget the Met Office. It’s the “…behaviour of the hefted hill ewes out on the moor…” you need to watch for incoming snow. A definite read before the Boxing Day walk – it’ll answer all the children’s questions… [Johnny’s] passion and knowledge for rural life absolutely shine in this book. [His] writing is very accessible and engaging, and really quite poetic in places. Writing about Christmas week, he says: “I love the bleak beauty… the eerie sound of a great multitude of geese riding from their roost in a lapis lazuli dawn.”
Annette Shaw, Devon Life
From cover to cover this highly readable book was rapidly digested in just over a day. As I know from frequent evenings in his company, Johnny Scott is an exceptionally fine teller and re-teller of tales and anecdotes…If you are a countryman by birth, inclination or persuasion, buy this book, you will love it. If not, buy the book anyway, you might learn something.
Peter Brook , Baily's Hunting Director
Separated into the four seasons, the reader will move through the year with Johnny’s own knowledge and various stories and experiences to guide them. Not only does it focus on country sports, it looks at man’s relationship with nature and how things have changed for the better. His affection for the countryside and all it has to offer shines through and will delight any reader.
Mary Jarwood , The Countryman's Weekly
This book is simply brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover. Sir Johnny’s encyclopaedia like knowledge of most things relating to the British countryside and his articulate and eloquent writing style, firmly deposits this book into my “couldn’t put it down” category. Highly recommended for country folk of all nationalities, British social historians, nature lovers and urbanites with an enquiring mind.
Gary Creighton , British Country Sports
This is not a soapbox piece about our changing landscape and culture, but a balanced and quiet observation of a landscape and nation in flux…. This book attests to Scott’s deep understanding of the British countryside.
Hunter Workman, British Deer Society