Book Review by Kathy-Anne Vincent from Patterjack & Tweed
Published by Coronet
A rural childhood is like no other- whilst many children have parks and shops on their doorsteps, the country child has fields and wildlife. Sara Cox’s ‘Till the Cows Come Home’ recognises the family involvement in country living, being a farmers child alongside her exploration of the world around her in her teenage years.
As to be expected, the book is full of hilarious anecdotes and memories of her childhood, many left me nodding and laughing in recognition.
‘Till the Cows Come Home’ could almost be an autobiography for many Farmers children. From daring each other to jump off the bales at a dangerous height (sorry little brother ) to learning to drive in a farm vehicle from a young age to speed the work up. Let’s be honest, most the time- you’re on gate duty if you’re with your dad though, aren’t you?
Chapter 14- ‘Bovine Sally Gunnells’ was the chapter that really stands out to me, both for familiarity and hilarity. The terrible moment when the ‘Cows are Out’. Comparing them to a ‘Bovine Sally Gunnells’ really related! The call would always be received on a day off or in the evening when settling down for the night. Whilst it was always a frustrating call for my Dad, like Sara, I always found it super exciting.
Sara also writes about her modelling years. The good, the bad and the downright ugly. From building a portfolio ‘I didn’t look like a hot Spanish senorita but more like I’d popped my mum’s old cossie on and smeared gravy browning on me’ to making to Milan and Korea with a full portfolio. These chapters were a little harder to read. Homesickness and getting accustomed to different cultures whilst still trying to find herself. You can feel both moments of excitement and apprehension.
Like all farming children, you can see the comfort of the farm acting as a sling to hold you when you need is shown throughout. ‘Everything was familiar and a comfort. I felt like I could relax, like loosening my tie or undoing a top button’. Whilst nodding along as I read, I realised it is so true.
Sara’s book has made me realise what a lucky child I really was. Whilst this review is intended to wax lyrical about how good her writing is. It really is, it flows beautifully and the joy of the chapters being short means you can dip in and out in between daily tasks and not lose your place. I should write about how her humour made me want to keep reading, how you can hear her broad accent narrating the story. How you can hear the pain in her voice when she talks about the terrible fire incident, and feel her mischievous side playing with her siblings. I also feel I need to write about how the book made me feel.
‘Till the Cows Come Home’ churned up memories from being a child living on a farm. Your Dads cab smells like diesel no matter how clean. You help your dad make milk for a sickly calf. You keep your fingers crossed that when you stick your head over the holding pens that some little ears will prick up. You know in your heart that your Dad is essentially a miracle worker because yesterday..that calf was a gonner!
Your mum is always ready with a good dinner after a long day at work. Platefuls of sandwiches and Quiches that seem to appear from nowhere. Sponge cakes cooling all over the worktops ….sometimes in the garden before the village shows! It’s country living!
She goes home ..and it all comes back, I am lucky enough to still get involved regularly. There is no place like home.
Wellies and all.
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