Blissful, Restless Dartmoor
Author – Colin Pearse
Published by – Barramoor Books.
The price of £36 may seem at first a lot of money to spend on a book but I can tell you that for anyone with an interest in Dartmoor, farming, poetry, photography it is an investment. Not since Eric Hemery’s ‘High Dartmoor’ has there been a book which takes you into the people, traditions, landscape and lives of those who live and work upon the moor. For anyone who thinks they know Dartmoor well I guarantee that there are a host of things that will get them saying; “well I never knew that.” Have you ever ordered anything online and then eagerly awaited its arrival? It was such with this book, after literally snatching the parcel from the postman I could not wait to dive into its pages. And as the saying goes, “all good things come to those who wait,’ and having now read the book nothing could be truer.
It is a tome creaking full of Dartmoor folk portrayed in both photograph, verse and personal experiences. If you want the fauna and flora of the moor then there is ample in this book to sate any appetite. Weather lore is abundant in both word and photograph. Ever heard of the saying. “the sun’s drawing water,” used to describe when sunlight beams down through the clouds? If not there is a superb photograph showing exactly that. Old farming methods and practices are represented by aged black and white images giving a glimpse of Dartmoor’s past. I don’t know what the collective word for a gathering of farmers is, perhaps a ‘harvest’ but there certainly is a bounty of Dartmoor’s finest both past and present to be found in ‘Blissful, Restless Dartmoor’.
Below is just one evocative example of Colin’s poetry, hopefully he and the publishers will overlook the copyrights?
“A Place Called Dartmoor
Walking through a Dartmoor Gateway’
Where countryside, moor and moor-people
And animal cohort;
Sometimes in silhouette, sometimes dishevelled
Most times correct and ‘praper’,
Strikingly graphic and real,
And sustainable over time,
An image here framed in ash and granite
lit by a sunset sky,
‘Where there’s a place called home’
‘Their place, your place, my place.’
Yet, the person who placed the granite post,
Is now touching stone somewhere else.”
There is so much in this book that it would take a book to describe every topic and feature contained within its pages. If ever you are stuck in doors on a wet and windy day and need to be transported to sunnier places simply dip into the book. If you are someone that yearns for the past then the myriad of old photographs will quickly transport you back to times when life was simpler.
The only puzzling thing about this book is that it was first published in 2011 and has been a hidden treasure for three years. Thankfully through the media it has now hit the headlines and awoken people to its existence. Under no circumstances let its price deter from its purchase, believe me if anything its an undervalued bargain that should proudly sit on any bookshelf.