Red Rag to a Bull

Red Rag to a Bull

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Red Rag is a humorous and thought-provoking story seen through the eyes of a landownera modern-day Poldarktrying to keep the family estate going in an ever-changing world.

Jamie Blackett's intelligent and easy-to-read narrative flows through the farming challenges of the Scottish independence referendum, the hunting ban and Brexit.



Author Jamie Blackett arrives home from the Army to take over a small family estate on the Solway Firth in Dumfries and Galloway and finds a rapidly changing countryside.

In a humorous and occasionally moving tale, he describes how he grapples with the intricacies of farming, conservation and estate management and tells the story of founding a pack of foxhounds and a herd of pedigree beef cattle. Part childhood memoir, part biopic of rural life, readers are transported to a remote and beautiful part of Scotland and acquainted with its wildlife, its people and its customs. One minute he is unblocking his septic tank, and the next he is watching Glenn Close film a sex scene in his bedroom.

Set over the first two decades of the 21st century, amidst the Scottish independence referendum, Brexit and the hunting ban, the result is an enlightened review of the challenges threatening a vulnerable way of life, and an emerging rural philosophy about the directions Scotland, farming and the countryside might take in the brave new world of Brexit.

About the Author 

Jamie Blackett was born in 1964 and educated at Ludgrove, Eton, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and later Warwick Business School (MBA). After working in South Africa he joined the Coldstream Guards, serving in Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, Hong Kong, the Falkland Islands, Zimbabwe and Germany.

He returned to his roots in Galloway where he is now a farmer, forester, bed and breakfast and holiday cottage host, gardener and odd job man and occasional freelance journalist writing on farming and the countryside. Jamie is married with two children.

Jamie’s first book, The Enigma of Kidsonwas published by Quiller in 2017. 

Book Specifications

Additional Information

Sub Heading Rural Life in an Urban Age
ISBN 9781846892882
Author Jamie Blackett
Binding Hardback
Extent 256 pages, 234 X 153mm
Illustrations No
Ebook No

Jamie Blackett's new book is a bracing breath of Borders air. Not an angry caricature nor a blinkered polemic, Blackett has delivered something else entirely. And something rather valuable. ... Funny, well-considered and engagingly written, Blackett's book is one that encapsulates a moment in time.Alexandra Henton, The Field

‘A must read for anyone who cares about preserving the real countryside in an ever-changing world.' Kate Hoey, MP

‘A brilliant, enlightening and amusing book … it should be read by politicians, bureaucrats, ramblers, wildlife-lovers, townies, blow-ins and bumpkins like me. What a read!’ —Robin Page

‘The Jamies of this world are, alas, an endangered species. That doesn't stop politicians, tax men, so called environmentalists and assorted bunny huggers doing their best to exterminate them. Why do they refuse to give in to the "inevitable". Well read this book and then, maybe, you will understand. Francis Fulford

‘His book belongs with the tradition established by H. Rider Haggard and A.G. Street – a frank, honest and beautifully observed account of the “return of the native”.’ Sir Roger Scruton, FBA, FRSL

‘Jamie Blackett was accused of being a right-wing version of me – and he took it as a compliment! Having read Red Rag to a Bull – so do I!’ — George Galloway

'Blackett has written an entertaining and engaging book on a subject that will resonate strongly with those who live and work in rural Britain.' — Simon Doughty, Guards Magazine

'This book should be compulsory reading for all those townies who long to live in the country after a week in a holiday cottage... Wildlife, hunting and much hilarity pack this volume, perhaps best described as James Herriot meets the Irish RM.' — BASC, Shooting and Conservation Magazine

'This book is a reflection, by turns poetic and gritty, on two decades of life at what Jamie Blackett calls 'the silage-pit face'... He has to cope with the Scottish Government, unsafe trees and the implementation of the hunting ban. He's literally living the dream, given that dreams are generally odd, disconcerting and irrational, as well as, in recollection, at times very funny...Couched in the gentlest of language, this book holds a cri de coeur.' — Clive Aslet, Country Life

'In this wonderful, humorous, beautifully observed and written book, Blackett tells us something of the tribulations of a farmer in these benighted times.' — James Stevens Curl, The Jackdaw, Jan/Feb 2019 (Issue No. 143)

'...Blackett provides a passionate plea that the livelihoods dependent on the Scottish countryside are as important as the growing generation of urbanites focused predominantly on the tech and service industries. An enlightening read for everyone from the true country bumpkins to the modern city slicker.' — Scottish Field Magazine

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