My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding

About the book

I had spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and suspect I had aged in dog years.’

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen.

She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life’s toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs. From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play.

The running family joke was that “women ain’t people”. Clare had to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard – but first she had to make sure she had something to say.

Reviewed by Ringwood Readers

“An interesting, well structured and funny book. A good, touching, relaxing read”

star rating ***

 

 

 

The Farm by Richard Benson

About the book

When Richard Benson was growing up he felt like ‘the village idiot with O’levels’ – glowing school reports aren’t much help when you’re trying to help a sow give birth, or drive a power harrow in a straight line without getting half the hedgerow stuck in the tines. He left Yorkshire to work as a journalist in London, but returned when his dad called with the news that they were going to have to sell the family farm, and, in so doing, leave the home and livelihood that the Bensons had worked for generations. This is not only a moving personal account, but also one that reflects a profound change in rural life.

Reviewed by BBC Reading group:

As a factual comment on farming it was interesting, but we felt the material was poorly served by the writer.

Star rating: *

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