The view from the crest of the hill reveals a dozen increments of green in the hillocks and valleys below, from the fresh lime of the young wheat crop to the gothic dark of the Yews in the churchyard just visible in the distance. When poet Edward Blake wrote of England as “this green and pleasant land’’, this view, near Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire, surely was exactly the scene he had in his mind. This is not an isolate patch of rural idyll. From here it is possible to walk for days through endless countryside without engaging with frenetic modern life much more than just crossing the occasional major road before clambering over a stile and disappearing back into the land where time can be forgotten.
Shropshire is the most rural of England’s counties. It borders North Wales and was once part of the ancient Welsh Kingdom of Powys although times and
Some things people said about books in newspapers around the world at the weekend.
“Well, I didn’t want to write 600 pages of getting even. I thought I would try to be as understanding as possible to everybody else and as rough as possible on myself. I decided not to varnish stuff.” Salman Rushdie talking to Stuart Jefferies in The Guardian about why he decided to write his memoir, called Joseph Anton, the pseudonym he adopted after the fatwa was taken out against him in 1989.
“Today, many towns have no bookshops. If they also have no library, where are children to find books? Is it a surprise that we are always reading horrifying statistics about the number of homes without books? If children don’t discover what books they like, they are unlikely to become life-long readers, and we are therefore heading for a less literate society. Illiteracy leads to lower skills, greater social problems, higher crime rates, and a country less able to prosper in the global jobs market. Cutting libraries is a false economy. They are the best literacy resource that we have. “ Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, commenting on far-reaching cuts funding for UK Libraries.