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"You might like to look at these", said my Neighbour Who Knows What I Like, holding out a heavy carrier bag. "But you're not to start another collection and when you've finished with them you can get them down to the charity shop". I closed the door, took one look inside and starting building another set of shelves in the Library Wing. I already had a small collection of 1950's editions, with plain over-sized green covers and illustrations by countrymen like John Nash. I love them as much for the ads for Atco Autoscythes and Cremona Assorted Toffees as for the editorial content on everything from redstarts on window-sills to the vegetation on British Railways' embankments. They were once as at home in a rural kitchen as a Rayburn and a gingham table cloth. Founded in 1927 by J.W.Robertson Scott in the manor at Idbury in the Cotswolds (telephone Shipton-under-Wychwood 226), it was an immediate success, and although the offices have now moved from the comfortable-sounding Sheep Street in Burford to Skipton in Yorkshire, it sells 80,000 copies every month to countrymen all over the world. I think it's sad that the cover design is now a full-bleed colour photograph just like everyone else on the magazine rack, and that it was deemed necessary to lose the trademark green panels, but we now need The Countryman putting his feet up in our kitchens more than ever. Oh, I've just spotted an advertisement for Pick Knitwear with a drawing by Edward Ardizzone. Whatever else happens, this one's not going to Age Concern.
Yes, well it would be based in Skipton, wouldn't it? The home of Yorkshire's answer to the Brownshirts (that's the only colour the locals know) and where The Craven Herald is still printed by hand on a Koenig and Bauer....
The general line followed in this and its other imprints (The Dalesman, The Cumbrian, The Penninian, The Peakian, The Malvernian etc etc) is that you are not a true Englishman unless you wear Tattersall check shirts, Cavalry Twills and brown dealer boots. Oh, and drive a LandRover, although heaven knows what they will do now it's been bought by Tata.
Then again, I MAY be hugely biaised as Skipton Town Council are planning to spend a vast amoount of ratepayers money to erect a statue of Freddie Trueman, who never actually lived in the Town!!!
....but yours was a fabulous blog as ever, Peter!!
15 grand donation isn't it? No wonder the locals are split about the statue. There's a great pie shop in Skipton - Stanforth's. If it was in London, you can be very sure it would be in the sunday supplements every other week.
The Dalesman used to have some superb illustrated covers of its own - the best of which were the Christmas editions, always by 'Ionicus ' - Joshua Charles Armitage.
Trust you to find a copy with Piper, Betjeman, and Mr Mabey, all in the same edition!
The thing is Peter - are you ready for The Country Gentlemans Association magazine ? Amongst the classified ads for "well used" Frank Hall hunting pinks and vacancies for "house-keepers" I once spotted an ad for a pair of John Spencer hunting boots, beautifully hand crafted, obviously - left foot size 9, right foot size 10.
Marvellous Diplo, thankyou. I expect this august journal will also take advertising for Aladdin Greenhouse Heaters and, in the classifieds, spares for an Austin Gypsy.
Or a Tarpen hedge trimmer, Allen Scythe or a home canning kit, Exide batteries, Dunlop Town and Country tyres or a nice jar of Brands Chicken Essence...
...or a Nuffield Universal Tractor, an Imperial Good Companion Typewriter,a Short & Mason Stormoguide Barometer, a Sankey Aspin Chainsaw... (that's enough old brand names. Ed.)
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