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  • : The blog of Frank Beswick. It deals with my interests in religious, philosophical spiritual matters and horticulture/self-reliance
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January 5 2014 1 05 /01 /January /2014 22:24



Deep Country, by Neil Ansell, is a record of the author's five years of completely solitary living in the Cambrian Mountains of South Wales. To a great extent the book is the author's way of exploring a dream, of getting away from it all to a remote cottage. The dream also included an economic life that combined occasional writing with estate work on a casual basis, free therefore from the burden of employment at a paid job and able to spend the bulk of his time observing and studying wild life.


The book is written in a clear and fluent style, and it is evident that Ansell is writing about an experience that he loved. His writing shows a great deal of knowledge of the countrysie of the Cambian mountains, and any wildlife lover will find this book very much to his or her tastes. Besides his keen interest in wildlife he shows us what life in solitary conditions is realy like. While many of us are aware that there are technical difficulties to solitary country living, he details the difficulties of having what is essentially a very old, run down cottage, though one must say that the estate to which it belonged was friendly and supportive.


The book does not tell us what emotional problems he experienced in his solitary life, but that may be because he wishes to focus on the wildlife side of his experience.He does tell us of the physical disease that drove him from his chosen existence after five years. Thus the personal experienceside of the book  is limited, and we do not find out much about his relationship with the female who gave him two children, with whom he now lives in his native Brighton. We do not discover anything much about how he earned his living during those five years, save some references to articles and occasional work for the estate.


The quality of description is high and makes the book well worth reading. Ansell shows a significant level of knowledge and high writing skills. This is a book that will be enjoyed by widllife enthusiasts. It is not a work that focuses much on the good life and how to live it. As such it is akin to " A Last Wild Place" by Mike Tomkiss, who also spent many years in a Scottish wilderness, and which is enjoyed by wildlife enthusiasts. It is a book that will be enjoyed by people with a taste for detailed information about wildlife observation.It is a pity that the book lacks photographs, and the only illustration is line drawing of the cottage and its immediate surrounds. There are no maps that would enable the reader to locate the cottage, though we can work out the broad area where it is located.


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